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Advancing Justice-LA Congratulates Julie Su on Appointment as California Labor Secretary

Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles congratulates Julie Su, the organization’s former litigation director, on her appointment as secretary of the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Julie Su

She previously served as California labor commissioner from April 2011, appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown.

“We are incredibly proud of Julie’s new appointment under the Newsom Administration,” said Stewart Kwoh, president and executive director of Advancing Justice-LA. “It is clear that her fierce advocacy for low-wage and immigrant workers has not waned since her time with Advancing Justice-LA. We are excited for Julie and we look forward to continuing to work with her in her new capacity in the future.”

Su worked at Advancing Justice-LA from 1994 to 2011. She served as lead counsel in a ground-breaking federal lawsuit in 1995 to hold brand-name garment manufacturers and retailers liable for utilizing slave labor to manufacture their clothing. The case involved 80 Thai and Latino garment workers who worked behind barbed wire for years in an apartment complex in El Monte.

At Advancing Justice-LA (formerly the Asian Pacific American Legal Center), Su litigated numerous cases on behalf of low-wage workers. This advocacy for workers’ rights continued after she became labor commissioner. During her most recent tenure at the state, she launched a first-of-its-kind statewide campaign reaching out to low-wage workers and employers to help them speak out about wage and labor abuse.

Su is a past recipient of the MacArthur “Genius” Grant, and has also been honored as an international human rights activist by the Gruber Foundation in 2006 with its international Women’s Rights Prize and by Reebok for its International Human Rights Award in 1996.

She was one of The Daily Journal’s “Top 75 Women Litigators” in California, California Lawyer’s “Super Lawyers” and “Top 75 Labor and Employment Lawyers,” and Los Angeles Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in Los Angeles.”

A graduate of Stanford University and Harvard Law School, Su has taught at UCLA Law School and Northeastern Law School. She speaks Mandarin and Spanish.

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