By EMMA COURT
President Barack Obama announced Tuesday his intent to nominate David Weil ’83 to be administrator of the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor, according to a White House press relaease.
Weil is a professor of markets, public policy and law at Boston University, a senior fellow at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and co-director of Harvard’s Transparency Policy Project, which aims to improve public disclosure systems to advance policy priorities, according to the White House press statement.
The Wage and Hour Division is a federal agency tasked with enforcing labor standards and worker protections such as the federal minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping and child labor requirements established by the Fair Labor Standards Act, according to the division’s website.
So far, Wage and Hour Division Administrator has not been confirmed during Obama’s presidency. Nancy J. Leppink has served as Acting Wage and Hour Administrator since January 2011.
Obama has previously nominated two candidates for the post. The first, Lorelei Boylan — who was director of Strategic Enforcement at the New York State Department of Labor, Labor Standards Division — was nominated in April 2009. After Republicans blocked Boylan’s confirmation, she withdrew her nomination.
Obama subsequently nominated Leon Rodriguez, a Department of Justice official, for the post in December 2010, but the White House ultimately withdrew that nomination as well.
Wilma Liebman, former chair of the National Labor Relations Board and senior lecturer at Cornell Law School and the School of Industrial and Labor Relations, praised Weil both professionally and personally, saying he is experienced and knowledgeable.
“[Weil] is exceptionally well-qualified for this position,” Liebman said. “He’s written extensively, he’s studied this extensively. He really understands the nature of employment today and the issues that creates for many in terms of wage and hour compliance problems. But besides that he’s really a decent person; I think he’d be an outstanding public servant.”
Liebman noted, however, that the position has not had a confirmed director in several years. She said there is no way to predict whether Weil will be confirmed or how long it will take to go through the requisite processes, which include Senate confirmation.
“You just never know how quickly these things move. Sometimes they drag,” Liebman said. “In terms of his confirmation, you never know what to predict in labor-related positions.”
Weil has authored five books on various labor issues and has also written numerous journal articles. He was a Fulbright Senior Scholar from 2008 to 2013 and has Boston University’s “Best MBA Instructor of the Year” in 2011 and 2012.