President Elect Biden has recently tapped Marty Walsh as his pick for the new Secretary of Labor. The Secretary of Labor will be the main force for changes in areas like making sure workers get fair wages, health & medical benefits, and job training. The Department of Labor (DOL) that the Secretary will lead is also responsible for using the data collected around these areas to make informed decisions on how to improve current legislation and regulations.
What experience does Mayor Walsh bring to leading our nation’s labor force in a time ravaged by unprecedented unemployment rates?
Martin J. Walsh was born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts, and became the city’s 48th Mayor in 2014.
Here are a few important roles that have prepared him for his new cabinet seat:
- President of the Laborers Local 223
Mayor Walsh first became involved in the Laborers’ International Union of North America when he was just 21 years old, following in the footsteps of his father and uncle. He was later appointed the President.
- 13th District Representative to the Massachusetts House of Representatives
Prior to becoming Mayor, Walsh represented the 13th District of Suffolk in the Massachusetts House of Representatives starting in 1997. Notable legislation issues he supported and was instrumental in passing included those centered around workers’ pay and benefits during the financial crisis, services to fight addiction, and marriage equality. In 2014, he stepped down to begin his mayoral campaign.
- Head, Secretary-Treasurer, and General Agent of the Boston Metropolitan District Building Trades Council
In 2010, Mayor Walsh was elected to be Secretary-Treasurer and General Agent of a council made up of of 20 local construction unions with over 3,300 members. Just a year later, he was elected Head of the group, a position he held until becoming Mayor (1).
You can read a broad overview of Mayor Walsh’s legislative accomplishments over the years here.
With many looking to infrastructure spending to bolster our economy, the Department of Labor (DOL) will have a vital role in nursing the country back to health after almost a year of facing COVID related challenges. By using infrastructure spending to create jobs, there could be a two-fold benefit: not only could it reduce the unemployment rate, but it could also reduce the strain on local governments, all while improving our collective economy.
Mayor Walsh’s history of putting the residents of Boston at the forefront of his choices speaks well to his ability to step into the role of Secretary of Labor.
We look forward to following his journey and initiatives to come.