Understanding the President’s Cabinet: Labor Secretary
Religion & Liberty Online

Understanding the President’s Cabinet: Labor Secretary

UPDATE: Andy Puzder withdrew his name from consideration yesterday, so we’re updating and reposting this article with the information for the new nominee, Alexander Acosta.

Note: This is the fifth in a weekly series of explanatory posts on the officials and agencies included in the President’s Cabinet. See the series introduction here.

Cabinet position: Secretary of Labor

Department:  United States Department of Labor

Current Nominee: Andrew Puzder

Succession: The Secretary of Labor is the eleventh in the presidential line of succession.

Department Mission: “To foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.” (Source)


The following programs and offices are included under the Department of Labor:

  • Ÿ Administrative Review Board (ARB)
  • Ÿ Benefits Review Board (BRB)
  • Ÿ Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB)
  • Ÿ Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
  • Ÿ Center for Faith-Based & Neighborhood Partnerships (CFBNP)
  • Ÿ Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)
  • Ÿ Employees’ Compensation Appeals Board (ECAB)
  • Ÿ Employment & Training Administration (ETA)
  • Ÿ Job Corps
  • Ÿ Mine Safety &Health Administration (MSHA)
  • Ÿ Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA)
  • Ÿ Office of Administrative Law Judges (OALJ)
  • Ÿ Office of Congressional & Intergovernmental Affairs (OCIA)
  • Ÿ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration & Management (OASAM)
  • Ÿ Civil Rights Center
  • Ÿ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy (OASP)
  • Ÿ Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO)
  • Ÿ Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP)
  • Ÿ Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP)
  • Ÿ Office of Inspector General (OIG)
  • Ÿ Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS)
  • Ÿ Office of Public Engagement (OPE)
  • Ÿ Office of the Solicitor (SOL)
  • Ÿ Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP)
  • Ÿ Ombudsman for the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program (EEOMBD)
  • Ÿ Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC)
  • Ÿ Veterans’ Employment & Training Service (VETS)
  • Ÿ Wage and Hour Division (WHD)
  • Ÿ Women’s Bureau (WB)

Department Budget: $12.8 billion

Number of employees: 17,663 full-time equivalent employees

Primary Duties of the Secretary: The responsibilities of the Secretary include:

  • Overseeing and managing the functions of the Department of Labor with regard to laws affecting the workplace, unions, and issues pertaining to business-to-employee relationships
  • Enforcing current laws related to employment and labor
  • Making recommendations for new laws related to employment and labor
  • Enforcing safety standards for the workplace
  • Facilitating the analyzing and recording of job statistics
  • Overseeing the dispensing of unemployment compensation benefits
  • Testifying to the United States Congress on matters having to do with employment and labor
  • Generating legislation related to employment and labor and presenting it to Congress through the President.


Secretary Info

Nominee: Alexander Acosta

Current occupation: Dean of the Florida International University College of Law

Previous jobs held: Law clerk for Justice Samuel Alito (while Alito was an appeals court judge); private law practice (specializing in employment and labor law); various government positions (see below).

Education: Acosta earned both his bachelor’s degree and law degree from Harvard University.

Previous government experience: U.S. Attorney for Southern District of Florida; Assistant Attorney General and Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department; member of the National Labor Relations Board (appointed by George W. Bush).

Notable achievements: and associations:

Twice named one of the nation’s 50 most influential Hispanics by Hispanic Business Magazine.

Ethics and Public Policy Center (Director of Project on the Judiciary)

Florida Innocence Commission (served on commission)

Florida Supreme Court’s Commission on Professionalism (served on commission)

Florida Supreme Court’s Access to Justice Commission (served on commission)

American Bar Association’s Commission for Hispanic Rights and Responsibilities (member)

Gulliver Schools (member of the board of trustees)

U.S. Century Bank (chairman of the board of directors)

Previous and forthcoming posts in this series: Secretary of StateSecretary of the Treasury, Secretary of Education,Secretary of Labor, Secretary of Defense, Attorney General, Secretary of the Interior, Secretary of Agriculture, Secretary of Commerce, Secretary of Health and Human Services, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Secretary of Transportation, Secretary of Energy, Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Secretary of Homeland Security


Joe Carter

Joe Carter is a Senior Editor at the Acton Institute. Joe also serves as an editor at the The Gospel Coalition, a communications specialist for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and as an adjunct professor of journalism at Patrick Henry College. He is the editor of the NIV Lifehacks Bible and co-author of How to Argue like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History's Greatest Communicator (Crossway).