Senate Confirms Acosta as Labor Secretary

April 28, 2017

Late Thursday afternoon, the Senate confirmed R. Alexander Acosta as the U.S. Department of Labor secretary. In the 60-to-38 vote, eight Democrats and one independent voted in favor of Acosta.

Acosta, a former U.S. state's attorney and dean of Florida International University College of Law, is the last Trump cabinet member to be confirmed. The position has been vacant for three months.

The new secretary has been endorsed by several unions, most notably by Terry O'Sullivan, president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America.

The International Union of Operating Engineers general president, James Callahan, backed Acosta's 2003 Justice Department nomination to head the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division., calling him a "reasonable, intelligent and eminently fair individual." Callahan said recently the union's opinion of Acosta had not changed since then.

Douglas McCarron, the general president of the International Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, wrote a letter telling the committee that Acosta was “both fair and open minded” and able to “understand and absorb disparate information and opinions and resolve difficult issues.”

Acosta will succeed Democratic Party boss Tom Perez as secretary of labor. Acosta is taking over a department that issued several controversial regulations under Perez including the implementation of the overtime policy adopted by the Obama administration in November. A Texas judge blocked the rule, so it now will fall to the agency's new leadership to decide whether to continue defending that rule.