Yes, yes! This will satisfy those who have always wanted a return to slave labor and have been slowed in their pursuit by those pesky labor laws. Some want slave labor? Capitalists demand such constantly by fighting against laws that exist to protect workers, to ensure that they are paid—hardly decently, but something—and that work does not kill them, immediately or too visibly. How low can the employer class go? Pretty low and now they will own more fully than ever the government entity that is supposed to protect laborers.
Remarkably for a man about to run the Labor Department, Pizzella is a former sweatshop lobbyist. As Judy Conti of the National Employment Law Project noted in 2018, “He has a lengthy and well-documented history as a highly-paid lobbyist who advocated to perpetuate conditions for workers in the Northern Mariana Islands that were nothing short of indentured servitude.”
Conti is referring to Pizzella’s employment from 1996 until 2001 at the law firm Preston Gates. During those years Pizzella worked extensively with now-disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff to push against attempts to regulate wages and immigration on the Northern Mariana Islands, a group of 14 islands that enjoyed an anomalous legal status as American territories. They were allowed to set their own wages and immigration law—a loophole the local government used to promote industries like construction and garment manufacturing by promising cheap labor to thousands of workers from China, the Philippines, and Bangladesh, companies operating in the Northern Mariana Islands made clothes that said “Made in America” but were in fact created in a legal netherworld where employees enjoyed few of the rights of Americans. They were guest workers who in their home countries often had to pay for the privilege of getting the job and so started in debt to their employers. Their contracts frequently stipulated that they couldn’t unionize, take part in politics, have boyfriends or children. There were reports of forced abortions conducted in back alleys. Risking deportation if they complained about their conditions, the workers lived in veritable prisons surrounded by barbed wire fences.