Coatings Industry News

Main News Page

Biden Taps Mayor Walsh for Labor Secretary

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Comment | More

Last week, President-Elect Joe Biden announced several key members of his forthcoming economic and jobs team, including his pick for Secretary of Labor, for which he has tapped Boston Mayor Marty Walsh.

According to the press release, if Walsh is confirmed, that would make him the first union members to serve in this role in nearly half a century.

Walsh, who is currently serving his second terms as Boston’s mayor, has served as head of both Laborers’ Union Local 223 (which he joined at age 21) and the Boston Metropolitan District Building Trades Council. He is also the current Chairman of Climate Mayors, a group of 470 mayors who aim to create jobs by investing in clean energy.

In Boston

That Trades Council Background was touted last year as Walsh was led Boston as the first U.S. city to halt construction activities amid the COVID-19 pandemic. On March 17, Walsh made the announcement to initially ban construction for 14 days.

U.S. Department of the Interior, CC-BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Last week, President-Elect Joe Biden announced several key members of his forthcoming economic and jobs team, including his pick for Secretary of Labor, for which he has tapped Boston Mayor Marty Walsh.

At the time, Walsh stopped all projects except for those deemed emergent, which included:

  • emergency utility, road or building work, such as gas leaks, water leaks and sinkholes;
  • new utility connections to occupied buildings;
  • mandated building or utility work;
  • work at public health facilities, healthcare facilities, shelters, including temporary shelters and other facilities that support vulnerable populations;
  • work which ensures the reliability of the transportation network; and
  • other work necessary to render occupied residential buildings fully habitable.

The city also implemented a case-by-case evaluation system.

At the time, Walsh’s work with the Building Trades Council was brought up as the group publicly supported the move. Other groups, such as the Associated General Contractors of America, spoke out against entire shutdowns.

By the end of March, Boston extended the moratorium indefinitely.

"The safety and health of construction workers and all residents of Boston is my first priority, and I am not willing to put that at risk as the virus spreads throughout our communities," said Walsh at the time.

Then, at the end of April, Walsh and Boston’s Chief Operations Officer Patrick Brophy began rolling out safety guidelines for construction’s return and a timeline was put in place for reopening the industry at the beginning of May, with most coming back online by June.

In the fall, at a topping-off ceremony, Walsh said that the rest of the city could learn from construction’s reopening success.

“They put incredible safety protocols in place on these job sites,” Walsh told reporters at the time. “As you can see, every construction worker’s wearing a mask. You know they have temperature checks, and they do all that here, so this is really an industry that we can learn from how to reopen—and reopen safely.”

Appointment Reaction

After the announcement went public, Walsh tweeted a statement, saying “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.”

Both the AFL-CIO and the Associated Builders and Contractors both praised the nomination.

“Boston Mayor Marty Walsh will be an exceptional labor secretary for the same reason he was an outstanding mayor: he carried the tools. As a longtime union member, Walsh knows that collective bargaining is essential to building back better by combating inequality, beating COVID-19 and expanding opportunities for immigrants, women and people of color,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.

“He will have the ear of the White House, the Cabinet and Congress as we work to increase union density and create a stronger, fairer America. From the Boston Building and Construction Trades Council to the Massachusetts State House to the mayor’s office to his own personal journey with overcoming addiction, Marty Walsh has always been a fighter who understands the power of working people standing together for a better life.”

ABC President and CEO Michael Bellaman added:

“Mayor Walsh knows the important role the construction industry plays in our economy, and Associated Builders and Contractors looks forward to working with a leader who has an extensive career in construction and experience in local government. The Department of Labor’s mission is essential in ensuring the safety, equitable treatment and advancement of all American workers without needlessly hindering economic growth. Over the coming months, it will be critical to help companies recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, expand job training and careers in construction for displaced workers, and create safe and healthy jobsites benefitting America’s workforce, infrastructure and economy.”


Tagged categories: Department of Labor; Good Technical Practice; Government; NA; North America; President Biden

Comment Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.

Strategic Materials Inc.

SAFE Systems, Inc.

Sauereisen, Inc.

Abrasives Inc.


Technology Publishing Co., 1501 Reedsdale Street, Suite 2008, Pittsburgh, PA 15233

TEL 1-412-431-8300  • FAX  1-412-431-5428  •  EMAIL

The Technology Publishing Network

PaintSquare the Journal of Protective Coatings & Linings Paint BidTracker

EXPLORE:      JPCL   |   PaintSquare News   |   Interact   |   Buying Guides   |   Webinars   |   Resources   |   Classifieds
REGISTER AND SUBSCRIBE:      Free PaintSquare Registration   |   Subscribe to JPCL   |   Subscribe to PaintSquare News
MORE:      About   |   Privacy Policy   |   Terms & Conditions   |   Support   |   Site Map   |   Search   |   Contact Us