Speeches & Floor Statements

Opening Statement: Alexander to Labor Nominees: You Will Be Responsible for Protecting Working Americans

Posted on October 4, 2017

Today we will consider three nominees who are tasked with leading important agencies that protect working Americans.

Wage and Hour Division Administrator Nominee:

As Wage and Hour Division Administrator at the Department of Labor, Ms. Stanton will be responsible for enforcing the federal laws that guarantee a minimum wage, overtime pay, and protect your job during family or medical leave, as well as child labor laws.

The Division is examining the “Time Card,” or overtime, rule – a provision put forward by the previous administration that would have more than doubled the salary threshold under which employees qualify for overtime pay.

The rule went too high, too fast and would have resulted in employers, non-profits, colleges and others cutting workers’ hours, limiting their workplace benefits and flexibility, as well as costing students more in tuition.

A federal court struck down the regulation and Secretary Acosta has already started the process to consider a more reasonable rule, and I hope Ms. Stanton will work with him and Congress on a more moderate approach.

Ms. Stanton currently serves as the Executive Director for the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce.

Prior to that role, Ms. Stanton worked as a labor and employment attorney in both the public and private sectors, including serving as Associate White House Counsel for President George W. Bush as the administration’s principal liaison to the Department of Labor.

Ms. Stanton served as a law clerk to the Honorable Samuel Alito Jr., and received her J.D. from the Law School at the University of Chicago.

President Trump announced his intent to nominate Ms. Stanton on September 2, 2017, and she was officially nominated on September 5, 2017. On September 15, 2017, the committee received Ms. Stanton’s Office of Government Ethics paperwork, including her public financial disclosure and ethics agreement. Based on these documents, the OGE said that Ms. Stanton “is in compliance with applicable laws and regulations governing conflicts of interest.” The Committee received her HELP paperwork on September 20, 2017.

Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health Nominee:


As the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health, Mr. Zatezalo will be responsible for enforcing mine safety laws and improving the safety of the mining profession.

Mr. Zatezalo is uniquely qualified to lead the Mine Safety and Health Administration, having started as a union-member miner and working his way up to General Superintendent for Southern Ohio Coal Company and General Manager of AEP’s Windsor Coal Company. He later rose to be Vice-President of Operations of AEP’s Appalachian Mining Operations and President and CEO of Rhino Resource Partners.

Mr. Zatezalo is a Mining Engineering graduate from West Virginia University.

President Trump announced his intent to nominate Mr. Zatezalo on September 2, 2017, and he was officially nominated on September 5, 2017. On September 8, 2017, the Committee received Mr. Zatezalo’s HELP paperwork. On September 11, 2017, the committee received Mr. Zatezalo’s Office of Government Ethics paperwork, including his public financial disclosure and ethics agreement. Based on these documents, the OGE said that Mr. Zatezalo “is in compliance with applicable laws and regulations governing conflicts of interest.”

National Labor Relations Board General Counsel Nominee:


As the National Labor Relations Board General Counsel, Mr. Robb will be responsible for helping workers who feel their right to organize collectively has been violated or assisting employers when some of their employees want to form a union.

Mr. Robb should help restore the Board to the role of neutral umpire.

While Board partisanship did not start under the previous administration, it became far worse.

When the Board is too partisan, it creates instability in our nation's workplaces and creates confusion for employers, employees and unions.

For example, a 2015 NLRB decision dramatically expanded “joint-employer” liability, which means it’s more likely a company will own and operate its stores, taking away the chance for a worker to own and run their own franchise.

This was the biggest attack on the opportunity for small businessmen and women to make their way into the middle class that anyone has seen in a long time – threatening to destroy the American Dream for owners of the nation’s 780,000 franchise locations.

Mr. Robb currently works as the director of labor and employment at the law firm Downs Rachlin and Marin.

He served as chief counsel to NLRB Member Robert Hunter, and was a regional field attorney for the NLRB in Baltimore.

Mr. Robb earned his B.A. in economics from Georgetown University and his J.D. from the University of Maryland School of Law.

President Trump announced his intent to nominate Mr. Robb on September 15, 2017, and he was officially nominated on September 25, 2017. The Committee received his HELP paperwork on September 22, 2017. On September 27, 2017, the committee received Mr. Robb’s Office of Government Ethics paperwork, including his public financial disclosure and ethics agreement. Based on these documents, the OGE said that Mr. Robb “is in compliance with applicable laws and regulations governing conflicts of interest.”

I look forward to your testimony.