The U.S. Department of Labor headquarters in Washington, D.C.



Photo:

Al Drago/Bloomberg News

The tide is turning politically on Capitol Hill, and the latest evidence is the surprising defeat of

David Weil

to run the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division. Three Democrats—

Joe Manchin,

Kyrsten Sinema

and

Mark Kelly

—opposed the union favorite on the Senate floor.

Mr. Weil had the same job in the Obama Administration, when he sought to destroy the franchise business model and gig economy as Americans know them. President Biden nominated him for a second stint on the expectation that he would impose via regulation much of Big Labor’s Pro Act that has failed to pass the Senate.

Mr. Weil’s joint-employer guidance during the

Obama

years held corporations jointly liable for their franchisee minimum-wage and overtime violations. Unions want to erase the distinction between corporations and franchisees to make it easier to organize.

Mr. Weil also redefined most independent contractors as “employees.” This meant so-called gig economy companies like Uber and Instacart would have to schedule shifts in advance, reducing worker flexibility and customer convenience, and raising costs.

California’s AB5 law reclassifying most independent contractors as employees was inspired by none other than Mr. Weil. And this may be one reason the two Democratic Senators from Arizona opposed his nomination. They’ve seen the headaches the law has created for business and workers next door, and they don’t want them coming to Arizona. More workers have embraced freelancing during the pandemic. So why would Mr. Biden nominate someone to a top Labor job who wants to kill their jobs?

Mr. Weil’s embarrassing defeat is a sign that, as the November election nears, the political mood on Capitol Hill is shifting. The President’s radical nominees, at least some of them, are getting more scrutiny.

These regulatory appointees will take on more importance as progressives turn to executive action to impose what they can’t pass in Congress. The next Biden nominee who deserves to be defeated:

Gigi Sohn

for the Federal Communications Commission.

Journal Editorial Report: The week’s best and worst from Kim Strassel, Jason Riley, Jillian Melchior and Dan Henninger. Images: Zuma Press/AFP/Getty Images Composite: Mark Kelly

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Appeared in the April 1, 2022, print edition.



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