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David Weil rejected as U.S. Department of Labor’s top wage-hour regulator

The Senate voted on naming David Weil (HELLER)—Dean and professor for the Heller School for Social Policy and Management—as Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division administrator on March 30. Weil had been nominated by Biden but was blocked from the position in a Senate vote. 

The motion was blocked by a 47-53 vote, with 47 in favor and 53 opposed. The vote breakdown had all Senate Republicans voting against Weil in addition to three democrats, according to a NYpost article

The three democratic senators to oppose the nomination were Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Mark Kelly of Arizona, according to the article. Manchin had previously addressed concerns over Weil’s nomination last year when he was first nominated by Biden, according to a Bloomberg Law article

Weil’s nomination process stretched over the course of many months after a tie within the Senate labor committee which prevented the process from moving forward for final consideration, according to a Bloomberg Law article. In August 2021, the Senate Labor panel was split 11-11, which halted the confirmation process, preventing it from moving forward, according to another article. With the draw, an extra procedural vote was needed in order for Weil to be considered eligible for consideration, according to the article. Biden wound up renominating Weil in order to move the process along in January 2022, according to the article

Weil received criticism from business groups and Republicans, according to the article, due to Weil’s opinions on gig-economy companies’ labor practices. Weil has publicly scrutinized gig-economy companies’ labor practices, which he received backlash for. 

Weil was also criticized by the International Franchise Association (IFA)—an organization for franchisors, franchisees and franchise suppliers—who released a statement on March 29, 2022 in opposition to his nomination, according to an IFA statement. “IFA strongly urges all senators to oppose the nomination of David Weil to the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor,” said Senior Vice President for Government Relations and Public Affairs Michael Layman. “Dr. Weil’s track record previously serving in this role and his ideological agenda leaves no doubt that his policies would harm the hundreds of thousands of local franchise businesses around the country and the 8.2 million workers they employ. At a time when we are counting on small businesses to rebuild our economy, we ask all senators to reject this flawed nomination and protect local businesses and their workers,” reads the IFA’s statement

When Weil had first been nominated for the position, university President Ron Liebowitz said in an email to community members that, “[Weil] has been an exemplary leader here at Brandeis, and the U.S. government would be fortunate to once again benefit from his leadership.” According to the Bloomberg Law article, Tom Perez—a Labor Secretary under the Obama administration—said in an interview that Weil, “wanted to hear from ‘everyone’ when developing rulemakings or contemplating new initiatives.” 

Weil had been selected by Biden in June 2021 for the position as the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division administrator, according to a previous Brandeis Hoot article. Weil had previously held this role under the Obama Administration from 2014 to 2017.

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