Two groups that don't always see eye to eye are agreeing on the confirmation of Marty Walsh as the Secretary of Labor.
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFCME) is thrilled about Walsh.
“Marty cut his teeth in the labor movement, said AFSCME President Lee Saunders in a statement when he was nominated “He is a card-carrying union member who has executive experience running a large city. There’s no doubt he’d be a high profile and passionate fighter for workers’ rights and that is why AFSCME backs him for secretary of labor.”
The US Chamber of Commerce is on his bandwagon as well. In a letter issued last week to the Senate Suzanne P. Clark, CEO said the following:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce supports the nomination of Boston Mayor Marty Walsh to be Secretary of the Department of Labor. Mayor Walsh has a reputation as a consensus builder and has displayed a willingness to work with a wide array of constituencies.
Before and during his tenure as Mayor, he launched the “Building Pathways” program and the “Learn & Earn” Career Development Internship and has collaborated with the business community to promote high-quality commercial and real estate development. Building Pathways and Learn & Earn are both important programs that have helped Boston-area residents find well-paying jobs. Both also contribute to closing race-based opportunity gaps in education and employment, which comprise an essential part of the Chamber’s “Equality of Opportunity” initiative. His cooperation with the business community and dedication to expanding employment and career opportunities uniquely qualifies Mayor Walsh to be Secretary of Labor.
The Chamber looks forward to working with Mayor Walsh as Secretary of Labor to advance our common interests in protecting employees while respecting the concerns of employers.
The National Safety Council congratulated Walsh's confirmation saying, “With the number of preventable workplace deaths rising, and the pandemic presenting the greatest workplace safety challenge in a century, the Department of Labor needs strong leadership more than ever. Secretary Walsh will provide such guidance.
"The American worker is facing a workplace safety crisis unlike any other, as the pandemic continues to rage nationwide. Secretary Walsh’s prior experience leading unions in the building and construction trades, as well as his work in the legislature, gives NSC confidence that he will lead with the nation’s workers at the forefront of decisions. We look forward to working closely with him and his team to eliminate deaths and injuries on the job."
Walsh is the first union member to fill this role in nearly 50 years. He led Boston’s Building and Construction Trades Council for two years before winning the 2013 race for mayor and has also served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives.
Even with all of these accolades, there is concern about what regulations will look like under Walsh's leadership. Fisher, Phillips LLP attorneys say employers need to get ready for a” pendulum swing back toward worker-centered policy that employers last experienced during the eight-year Obama administration.” (See the law firm's full analysis.)
One thing that all groups can count on is a very interesting year.