Senate Committee Approves Secretary of Labor Nominee

Allen Smith, J.D. By Allen Smith, J.D. February 11, 2021
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Marty Walsh

​On Feb. 11, the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee approved Boston Mayor Marty Walsh's nomination to be secretary of labor. His nomination will advance to the full Senate for consideration, where confirmation is expected soon. We've gathered articles on the news from SHRM Online and other trusted media outlets.

Enforcement Changes

Employers "should expect abrupt and far-reaching changes to the administration of federal workplace laws and regulations," according to Bob Nichols, an attorney with Bracewell in Houston. "For instance, employers must be prepared for vigorous enforcement of requirements related to occupational safety and health, payment of overtime, proper administration of employee benefit plans, and affirmative action."

(Forbes)

Emergency Temporary Standard

At the top of Walsh's agenda will be implementing an emergency temporary standard to protect workers from COVID-19. President Joe Biden has directed the U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL's) Occupational Safety and Health Administration to consider releasing a temporary standard by March 15. Walsh has pledged to consider employer and worker views on occupational safety.

(Bloomberg)

Collaborative Approach

Walsh emphasized his collaborative approach at his confirmation hearing on Feb. 4. He suggested that a task force be formed with the NAACP, the National Urban League and employers to address systemic racism. He added that there was little disagreement about the need to combat systemic racism and achieve pay equity.

(SHRM Online)

Deputy Labor Secretary Nominated

President Biden on Feb. 10 nominated California Labor Secretary Julie Su as deputy labor secretary at the DOL. Art Pulaski, executive secretary-treasurer of the California Labor Federation, praised the nomination, saying that "fighting for working people is in Julie Su's DNA." He added, "Over her distinguished career in California, she has tackled some of the most difficult issues facing workers today with vigor, always with justice as her beacon."

But California state Senate Minority Leader Shannon Grove, R-Bakersfield, said problems at the Employment Development Department, which operates the state's unemployment benefits system, raised questions about whether Su should become an administrator at the DOL. The DOL helps states provide unemployment benefits and fight fraud.

(Los Angeles Times)

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