Biden’s Self-Proclaimed Union Man Status Will Mean Change; Starting with Key Agency Staff - American Society of Employers - Michael Burns

Biden’s Self-Proclaimed Union Man Status Will Mean Change; Starting with Key Agency Staff

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Biden’s long-standing position as a labor supporter will translate into policy change. That change will be implemented by his appointees. The list as it currently reads is a Who’s Who of the contemporary labor scene.

The big position, short of Biden himself, could be from our own state of Michigan. In line for Secretary of Labor is Andy Levin. Congressman Levin is a prominent member of the U.S. House Education and Labor Committee. He is also a former union organizer for the Service Employee International Union (SEIU) and as a director at the AFL-CIO early in his career. He is the son of Sander Levin, former Michigan U.S. Senator.

Regardless of whether it’s Congressman Levin, it will be someone with deep roots or ties to Big Labor. Other names out there for Secretary of Labor are Bernie Sanders, Vermont Senator and former presidential candidate; Boston Mayor Marty Walsh; and California Labor and Workforce Development Agency’s Julie Su.

Below the position of Labor Secretary there is a whole host of other department heads that will need to be filled. During the pandemic the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will be a prominent post. This agency can move fast per the OSHA law itself. The law gives its parent agency, the Department of Labor, authority to bypass normally lengthy rule making processes when an emergency is present. The pandemic is an emergency, and OSHA will lead with some fast rulemaking around workplace safety during COVID.

On November 10th President-elect Biden announced his Department of Labor transition review team. In addition to the DOL departments stated above this team will review all the departments: EEOC Wage and Hour, Federal Mine Safety, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, Federal Labor Relations Authority,  National Mediation and Conciliation Board, Railroad Retirement Board, and National Labor Relations Board.

The 23-member labor transition team will be led by Chris Lu who was former Deputy Labor Director in the Obama Administration.

Of note, some of the other transition committee members are former NLRB attorney and current CWA counsel Jennifer Abruzzo; former AFL-CIO general counsel Lynn Rhinehart; and American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees bargaining official Shaun O'Brien. Labor figures are also advising on the transition at other agencies, including the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

Formal Cabinet head nominee announcements started Monday and will continue until the inauguration.

Sources: Biden-Harris Transition Announces Review Of Labor Department’s Operations 11/10/2020 LAW 360  Biden Leaning On Labor In White House Transition, 11/25/2020


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