How the DOL nominee could shake up HR

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh

President-elect Joe Biden on Thursday announced Boston Mayor Marty Walsh as his pick to lead the Department of Labor.

If confirmed, Walsh would be the first union member to serve in this role in nearly half a century.

“We’re in the midst of the most unequal economic jobs crisis in modern history,” Biden said Friday at an announcement event. He added that Congress needs to get to work on fixing it and that Walsh, among other economic team members he unveiled, is going to help.

Other nominations announced include Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo as commerce secretary; Isabel Guzman, director of California’s Office of the Small Business Advocate, to lead the Small Business Administration; and KeyBank executive Don Graves as deputy secretary of commerce.

“Working people, labor unions and those fighting every day for their shot at the middle class are the backbone of our economy and of this country,” Walsh wrote on Twitter late Thursday. “As Secretary of Labor, I’ll work just as hard for you as you do for your families and livelihoods. You have my word.”

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Related What can HR, employers expect from a Biden administration agenda?

North America’s Building Trades Unions lauded the announcement, calling Walsh the right person for the job.

“There is no better decision for U.S. Labor Secretary that President-elect Biden could have made than somebody who has been there, done it, with unquestioned leadership, accessibility and vast executive experience,” NABTU President Sean McGarvey said. “America’s employers will be well served with Mayor Walsh as Labor Secretary, and all of America’s workers–black, white, brown, women, men, gay, straight and transgender–will recognize that, for the first time in decades and decades, the U.S. Labor Secretary will speak for them.”

Employers and HR leaders are expecting an administration with more employee-friendly policies.

During his campaign, for instance, Biden issued proposals addressing healthcare and retirement; calling for additional payroll and income taxes on corporations and higher-income taxpayers; supporting paid family, medical and sick leave; proposing an increase in the federal minimum wage; and more.

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“The outstanding team of public servants we are announcing today will protect and expand workers’ rights, provide access to capital for small business owners, and invest in American innovation and competitiveness,” Vice President-elect Kamala Harris said of the announcement.

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Nick Otto
Nick Otto is HRE’s former senior digital editor. He is a professional communicator with more than a decade of demonstrated accomplishments in newspaper and trade publishing. He has spent the past five years covering the employee benefits space and holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida.