President Biden has named Boston Mayor Marty Walsh to head the Department of Labor. Walsh is former president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA) Local 223 and then-head of the Boston Building Trades before being elected mayor of the city in 2013. Walsh was also a state representative from 1997 to 2014.
In announcing his selection of Walsh as Labor Secretary, Biden said,“Marty understands, like I do, the middle class built this country, and unions built the middle class. He sees how union workers have been holding this country together during this crisis, health care workers keeping our hospitals safe, clean, and effective — and efficient. Public service workers fighting against budget shortfalls to keep communities afloat. Port workers, car haulers, warehouse workers, folks keeping our air and rail systems running. They’re literally what’s keeping us going. They deserve a secretary of labor who knows how to build their power as workers.”
In his own remarks, Walsh said,“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. As Secretary of Labor, I’ll work just as hard for you as you do for your families and livelihoods. You have my word.”
Walsh has the support of a broad-spectrum labor leaders too. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka was among one of the first to throw his support behind Walsh. Several other large union leaders encouraged Biden to pick Walsh, including AFSCME President Lee Saunders and AFT President Randi Weingarten.
Walsh comes from a working-class background. He grew up in the Dorchester neighborhood in Boston and attended college as an adult graduating from Boston College’s program for non-traditional students. He has worked in construction and stood on picket lines. He understands the needs of America’s working families and is expected to tackle many of the issues that have been ignored under the Trump Administration. ■