WASHINGTON—American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten and Boston Teachers Union President Jessica Tang issued the following statements after President-elect Joe Biden nominated Marty Walsh to be the next U.S. secretary of labor.
The AFT’s Weingarten said: “While wealthy Americans have done extraordinarily well in the last two decades, too many workers have lived paycheck to paycheck, with COVID-19 making the divide even worse. Workers need a champion in Washington—and Marty Walsh would be a crucial addition to an administration dedicated to fighting for the forgotten and rebuilding an enduring middle class.
“Marty comes from a union family and a union town. He’s walked picket lines and knows workers’ struggles and power when they come together. He’s dedicated his career to getting things done—as a union rep battling for decent wages, healthcare and retirement security—and as a Mayor knowing a well-trained and prepared workforce builds back better, whether it’s infrastructure, manufacturing, public schools or other services.
“Marty will hit the ground running as a relentless worker advocate and ally, both inside the administration and in the public sphere. He will fight for dignity and respect for all workers, including for their right to unionize, for health and safety standards, to raise the minimum wage and to ensure workers and their unions have an opportunity to thrive. And he will help reverse President Trump’s four years of callous and craven attacks.
“The path to a better America runs through the labor movement, as the largest organized force for equality and justice. With Marty’s confirmation, workers will have a trusted partner at the Department of Labor to get the job done.”
The BTU’s Tang said: “We applaud the appointment of Martin J. Walsh as the new U.S. secretary of labor. He will be a tremendous asset to the nation and to the Biden-Harris administration as they advance a pro-worker and pro-union agenda to build back better for the benefit of all working people. Incoming Secretary Walsh has been a champion for the public good and for the rights of working people throughout his organizing, legislative and mayoral career.
“He will assuredly help to lead the U.S. Department of Labor toward a revitalized focus on lifting up the rights and needs of workers, rather than tearing down the rights of workers, as was unfortunately done through the Trump administration’s cynical abuses and misapplications of the powers vested in the Department of Labor. Walsh has fought for the interests of workers throughout his entire career—as a union organizer, as a legislator and as mayor—and Boston communities have benefited tremendously from his leadership.
“While, naturally, we have at times had disagreements, he has always committed to working through them and finding a solution. In negotiations, he has been supportive, fair and focused on what he feels is best for workers and the community, all through the lens of someone who truly respects and knows deeply firsthand the importance of organized labor in building a better future for our city and for our nation.
“Along with our colleagues across the AFT, the Boston Teachers Union will work hard to support the vision that we share with the Biden-Harris administration and with Walsh of a future in which every student and worker is able to access the education, training and other opportunities necessary to achieve safe, rewarding careers and healthy lives.”