President-elect Donald Trump will soon have to choose a labor secretary and one likely pick is Victoria Lipnic.
Lipnic has served since 2010 as a Commissioner of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The federal agency is tasked with enforcing workplace civil rights laws. Her possible appointment to lead the Department of Labor (DOL) would mean that she would become the top official for all federal workplace laws.
Trump based much of his platform on helping displaced and struggling workers. Even his notable views on immigration were partially focused on stopping companies from replacing workers with cheap foreign labor. Trump’s pick for labor secretary is critical to accomplish his agenda.
Politico first reported Lipnic is being considered for the position on Wednesday. Trump has not released an official list of cabinet picks but sources close to the campaign have listed likely appointees. Here are five facts you should know about the woman who might soon oversee how Americans work.
Lipnic Already Has a Close Connection to the Position
Lipnic previously served as an assistant secretary of labor between 2002 and 2009. In the position, she oversaw the Employment Standards Administration (ESA). The ESA was tasked with administering wages and working conditions laws before it was eventually dissolved not long after she left. Her extensive experience at the senior levels of the DOL give her familiarity with her role if she is given the nod to lead the department.
She Has Private and Public Experience
Trump gained popularity among many of his supporters by arguing he is not part of the political establishment. His success largely comes from private-sector industries like real estate and hospitality. He will still need, however, people in his cabinet that understand the inner-workings of government.
Lipnic could prove to be a beneficial appointment in that regard because she has both private and public experience. She has primarily worked in the public-sector but also served as an attorney for the law firm Seyfarth Shaw LLP. She has also been counsel for labor and employment matters at the U.S. Postal Service which is a quasi-independent organization.
Lipnic Has Worked Along Bipartisan Lines
Lipnic has worked with government officials and lawmakers across the political spectrum. Before being appointed by Democratic President Barack Obama to the bipartisan EEOC, she advised House Republicans as their workforce policy counsel.
Her policy initiatives also don’t run along partisan lines. She has worked to reform overtime regulations, family leave and union financial disclosure requirements.
She has expressed concern for the gender wage gap but rejected a proposal by the current administration to fix it. The proposal is designed to change wage disclosure laws so employers have to provide the government with more data. She argued the law itself was outdated and bad policy, notes Affirmative Action Law Advisor.
She Would Be Replacing Obama Appointee Perez
Lipnic would be replacing current Labor Secretary Thomas Perez if she does end up being appointed. President Obama appointed him in 2013 following a career as a union and civil rights advocate. Perez has been viewed by supporters as a champion of worker rights, while his opponents contest he has used his influence to unfairly help labor unions.
The Labor Department has been the primary source of new workplace regulations during the current administration. The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) found in a report Sept. 22 the new regulations could cost $81.6 billion in compliance alone and 155,700 lost jobs over the next ten years.
Lipnic Will Need Senate Approval
When Trump is sworn in as president it will be his responsibility to fill numerous federal positions. Labor secretary is among those positions that will require approval by the U.S. Senate. Republicans were able to maintain their congressional majority during the election, meaning the approval process is likely not to hit too many obstacles. Lipnic has been previously confirmed by the Senate for other positions, and her prior appointment by President Obama makes confirmation as labor secretary almost assured.