January 21, 2021

Biden Picks Former Union Leaders for Secretary of Labor, Acting OSHA Director

President Biden has chosen Marty Walsh, currently serving his second term as mayor of Boston, Massachusetts, as his nominee for Secretary of Labor. Walsh was first elected as mayor in 2013 and won reelection in 2017.

Before serving as mayor, Walsh was a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1997 through 2014. A member of the Laborers’ Union Local 223, Walsh served as the union’s president and as secretary-treasurer, general agent, and ultimately head of the Boston Metropolitan District Building Trades Council, an umbrella group of local construction unions. He resigned from his union leadership positions prior to his first mayoral campaign in 2013. If the Senate confirms Walsh’s nomination, he will be the first union member to serve as Secretary of Labor since the 1970s. More information about Walsh’s work and achievements can be found on the City of Boston website.

Days after announcing Walsh as his choice for Secretary of Labor, Biden selected AIHA member Jim Frederick as acting administrator of OSHA. According to Bloomberg Law, Frederick is one of several Biden appointees who will fill roles within the Labor Department on an interim basis to address urgent issues until permanent appointments are made. OSHA has been without a permanent administrator since David Michaels resigned in 2017.

Frederick served 24 years as assistant director of Health and Safety for the United Steelworkers before retiring in 2019. According to USW, Frederick’s testimony to congressional panels and federal agencies contributed to progress on hazards such as workplace violence, beryllium, and silica, and led to improvements in hazard communication and ergonomics. Most recently Frederick was a consultant with ORCHSE Strategies, a health and safety services firm.