|28th United States Secretary of Labor|
|Assumed office |
September 30, 2019
|Preceded by||Alexander Acosta|
|25th United States Solicitor of Labor|
January 11, 2002 – January 17, 2003
|President||George W. Bush|
|Preceded by||Henry Solano|
|Succeeded by||Howard M. Radzely|
|Born||August 14, 1963|
Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
Maureen Scalia (née McCarthy)
|Education||University of Virginia (BA)|
University of Chicago (JD)
Eugene Scalia (born August 14, 1963) is an American politician and attorney who serves as the 28th United States Secretary of Labor, a post he has held since September 30, 2019. He was formerly a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of the law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher; and previously served one year as Solicitor of the Department of Labor during the George W. Bush administration. He is a son of the late Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia.
In July 2019, President Donald Trump nominated him to become the next secretary of labor. Prior to his nomination, Scalia was known as a corporate lawyer who had a record of arguing against worker's rights. He was confirmed by the Senate on September 26, and was sworn in on September 30, 2019. During his tenure, he has weakened protections for workers.
Early life and education
Scalia was born on August 14, 1963, in Cleveland, Ohio, the son of Antonin Scalia and Maureen (McCarthy) Scalia. He attended the University of Virginia where he graduated with distinction with a major in economics, along with a minor in political science. He then attended the University of Chicago Law School, where he was editor-in-chief of the University of Chicago Law Review and graduated cum laude with a Juris Doctor degree.
During 1985–1987 he was an aide to Education Secretary William J. Bennett. During 1992–1993 he served as Special Assistant to Attorney General William P. Barr. Scalia was in private practice in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles, California. In 2000, his firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher represented George W. Bush before the U.S. Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore.
He served as the Solicitor of Labor, having been appointed by President Bush in April 2001 and taken the position in January 2002 following a recess appointment. At the time, he was accused by Democratic Senators and labor groups of being hostile to workers and criticized for his articles criticizing ergonomics. But a group of former career officials within the Department of Labor have since described Scalia as having been "very supportive of enforcement litigation to vindicate the rights of workers, both at the trial and appellate levels." In 2019, The New York Times wrote that Scalia "is perhaps best known for his opposition to a regulation that would have mandated greater protections for workers at risk of repetitive stress injuries". The regulation was repealed by Congress in 2001.
During his career in private practice, Scalia has sustained a long record of defending major corporations against financial and labor regulations. As a corporate lawyer, he repeatedly hindered the implementation of efforts to improve worker safety and worker rights. Since 2003, he has defended Wall Street firms against financial oversight. A 2012 Bloomberg News article that profiled Scalia was headlined, "Suing the Government? Call Scalia!"
Scalia argued for the plaintiffs in Wal-Mart v. Maryland in July 2006, which invalidated a state law under which large companies with at least 10,000 employees would have been required to spend at least 8% of their payroll on employee healthcare.
U.S. Secretary of Labor
On July 18, 2019, President Trump announced he would nominate Scalia to be the next Secretary of Labor. On September 26, 2019, the Senate confirmed his nomination by a vote of 53–44. Scalia was sworn in by Vice President Mike Pence on September 30.
According to a former Senior OSHA official, Scalia's belief that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has no role in managing the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States has been credited with exacerbating the failure to control the disease. His initiatives are said to be not meant to protect workers, but instead to safeguard the industries favorable to the Republican Party. Scalia has been accused of improperly intervening in the gender and racial discrimination legal case brought forth by an agency of his own department against Oracle. He is also accused of retaliating against his attorney who spoke up against his intervention.
In October 2020, The New Yorker characterized Scalia's tenure as Secretary of Labor as one of antagonism towards labor and weakening of workers' rights. The Labor Department changed rules that made easier for firms not to pay workers for overtime, made it easier for restaurants to shortchange waiters on tips, and made it easier for firms not to provide paid sick leave. He expanded the definition of "independent contractor" to make it easier for firms that use contract labor to avoid paying minimum wage, overtime pay, and other benefits. He intervened in a major Labor Department lawsuit against Oracle which was being investigated for systematically underpaying women and people of color; he pushed for a settlement sum that the career officials involved in the case considered far too low. During his tenure, Scalia sidelined career officials at the Labor Department and increased the role of political appointees.
As of 2019, Scalia and his wife Patricia have seven children.
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- Jeff Stein; Rachel Siegel (2019). "Eugene Scalia has defended Wall Street, Walmart and SeaWorld. Now he's Trump's pick for labor secretary". The Washington Post.
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- "OSHA Ergonomics Background Page". www.osha.gov.
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- "'Wal-Mart Law' in Md. Rejected By Court". The Washington Post. July 20, 2006. Retrieved February 22, 2016.
- Lucey, Catherine; Andrews, Natalie (July 18, 2019). "Trump to Nominate Eugene Scalia to Serve as Labor Secretary". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved July 18, 2019.
- @realDonaldTrump (July 18, 2019). "I am pleased to announce that it is my intention to nominate Gene Scalia as the new Secretary of Labor. Gene has led a life of great success in the legal and labor field and is highly respected not only as a lawyer, but as a lawyer with great experience. ..." (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- "U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 116th Congress - 1st Session". U.S. Senate. Government Publishing Office. September 26, 2019. Retrieved September 28, 2019.
- "Eugene Scalia Sworn In as 28th Labor Secretary". news.bloomberglaw.com.
- "Eugene Scalia is sworn in as Secretary of Labor (@USDOL)pic.twitter.com/aQbvTmBYGP". September 30, 2019.
- Simon, Scott (July 4, 2020). "Many Say OSHA Not Protecting Workers During COVID-19 Pandemic". Weekend Edition Saturday. NPR.
- Sirota, David (July 9, 2020). "Trump's Labor Secretary is Reaching Cartoonish Levels of Supervillainry". Jacobin.
- Scheiber, Noam (August 13, 2020). "Trump's Labor Chief Accused of Intervening in Oracle Pay Bias Case". New York Times.
- Penn, Ben; Smith, Paige (August 10, 2020). "Federal Litigator Behind Oracle Lawsuit Being Reassigned by DOL". Bloomberg News.
- "Office of the Secretary | U.S. Department of Labor". www.dol.gov.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Eugene Scalia.|
- "Gibson Dunn - Eugene Scalia". gibsondunn.com. Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. Archived from the original on October 24, 2008.
- Appearances on C-SPAN
| United States Secretary of Labor