Wolf Nominates Labor Leader for Vacant Secretary Post

By: Brent Sailhamer, Director of Government Affairs, ABC Keystone

Less than a week after announcing the departure of Kathy Manderino as the Secretary of the Department of Labor & Industry, Governor Tom Wolf has found her replacement. Late last week, the Governor announced Jerry Oleksiak as his nominee for Secretary of Labor & Industry. Oleksiak hails from Philadelphia and spent his initial professional career working with the Montgomery County Intermediate Unit. In 2015, he was elected as President of the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA), the Commonwealth’s largest public sector union.

The move was immediately criticized by several state Senators, including Sens. Scott Wagner (R-York), Scott Martin (R-Lancaster), Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson), and Mike Regan (R-York). The group collectively questioned Wolf’s motives for the nomination in a joint release, claiming “it smacks of the very political quid-pro-quo Wolf disavowed when he promised Pennsylvania voters he’d be a ‘different type of Governor.’” The release goes on to promise that Oleksiak will face a difficult confirmation process and without “satisfactory responses,” the coalition would deny the confirmation.

As the nominee for such a vital role in ABC’s processes, ABC has already reached out and met with Oleksiak to strengthen potential relationships and discuss the importance of apprenticeship, workforce development, and career and technical education.