By Benjamin D. BriggsBrent I. Clark, James L. CurtisAdam R. Young, Ilana R. Morady, A. Scott HeckerPatrick D. Joyce, and Craig B. Simonsen

Seyfarth Synopsis: If confirmed as Labor Secretary, past union leader, Mayor Marty Walsh, would succeed former corporate employment attorney, Eugene Scalia. Secretary Scalia has been criticized by organized labor and other groups for issuing joint employer and worker classification policies perceived as business-friendly and for declining to adopt an emergency COVID-19 rule requiring employers to take action to protect their workers from the virus.

Known as a personal friend of President-elect Biden, Mayor Walsh may have more of a voice in the Administration than the average Secretary of Labor. Before becoming a big-city mayor with all the responsibilities that entails, Walsh was a member of Laborers Local 223 in Boston and then head of the Boston Building and Construction Trades Council from 2011 to 2013. He worked with business and community leaders to “promote high-quality development, and he created a program called Building Pathways that has become a model for increasing diversity in the workplace and providing good career opportunities for women and people of color.” In the Massachusetts House of Representatives, Mayor Walsh led on issues like job creation and worker protection, skills that align with the challenges he would face as Secretary of Labor.

Given his union and worker protection background, we expect Mayor Walsh to pursue the enhanced enforcement course we previously predicted a President Biden OSHA would adopt.

For more information on this or any related topic, please contact the authors, your Seyfarth attorney, or any member of the Workplace Safety and Health (OSHA/MSHA) Team.