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Trump’s pick for acting labor secretary was a sweatshops lobbyist

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Terms like “unchecked slave labor” and “indentured workers” will forever be tied to Patrick Pizzella’s history.

President Donald Trump made two announcements Friday. The first, that his embattled Secretary of Labor was resigning amid outrage over having given accused child rapist and trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, now a registered sex offender, a sweetheart plea deal.

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The second announcement has received little notice. Trump named Secretary Alex Acosta’s replacement. Deputy Secretary of Labor Patrick Pizzella will become Acting Secretary of Labor Patrick Pizzella.

“He’s a good man, highly recommended by Alex,” President Trump said of Pizzella Friday.

Pizzella, which few know, has a long history, going back to the late 1990’s, of being a lobbyist for sweatshops, and, as Mother Jones reported, advocating to advance an economy of “indentured workers.”

In August of 2017 Mother Jones reported “Trump’s Pick to Run the Labor Department Promoted Sweatshops on Remote US Islands.”

Just to be perfectly clear, the Secretary of Labor – Acting or otherwise – and the Dept. of Labor, are tasked with protecting workers and enforcing the laws that protect workers. Nowhere does it say the Secretary of Labor and the Labor Dept. are supposed to advocate for sweatshop working conditions and for indenturing workers.

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It’s a lengthy exposé, but Mother Jones makes clear what Pizzella was doing.

“Patrick Pizzella worked with Jack Abramoff to organize congressional junkets” and “helped lead a public relations campaign to rebrand the islands as a paragon of free-market principles. Between 1996 and 2000, emails and billing records reviewed by Mother Jonesshow that Pizzella and colleagues organized all-expenses-paid trips to the islands for more than 100 members of Congress, their staffers, and conservative thought leaders. When they got back, Pizzella helped them convince colleagues that the Northern Mariana Islands were, as his old boss Abramoff liked to put it, a ‘laboratory of liberty.’ ”

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights in 2017 released a letter opposing Pizzella as Deputy Labor Secretary.

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“Pizzella worked closely with Jack Abramoff to lobby for policies on the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands that essentially allowed for unchecked slave labor to be performed with the imprimatur of the ‘Made in the U.S.A.’ label on goods and clothing.”

Former Obama-era DOJ speechwriter:

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