U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh is leaving the Biden administration, according to news sources. Walsh has been offered the job as executive director of the NHL Players’ Association, the union which represents professional hockey players in Canada and the US. The news of Walsh’s departure generated criticism by top Republicans of his performance as DOL Secretary.
Who will be the next DOL Secretary? DOL has not formally announced Walsh’s expected departure and President Biden hasn’t made any official announcements or nominations to replace him. In the meantime, Deputy Labor Secretary Julie A. Su, a former California labor secretary, is expected to take over as acting secretary as set out under the Federal Vacancies Reform Act. Su was originally in the running for the labor secretary role, though Walsh ultimately won the job. It is highly likely that President Biden will nominate Su to fill the post. Su is expected to face opposition from business groups, similar to her confirmation in 2021 for the deputy secretary role. Even if nominated, Su could serve as acting secretary while awaiting official confirmation by the Senate.
Su has an extensive labor background. Before joining the Biden administration, Su served in two different labor roles for the state of California: first, as the California labor commissioner from 2011 to 2018, then as secretary for the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency from 2019 until 2021, when she joined the Biden administration. As California labor commissioner, investigating and combating wage theft was a top priority for Su. Just two years into her tenure there, a 2013 report(Opens in a new window) found that her leadership led to far more investigations and enforcement of wage theft laws. If Su is nominated and confirmed as the new DOL Secretary, it is expected that she will replicate her efforts in California on a national level.
Outlook: Secretary Walsh’s last day at DOL has not yet been announced. Once an official announcement is made by DOL, President Biden will announce his nominee (again, the most likely candidate is Su) to fill the vacant post. The nominee is expected to quickly go before the full Senate for a vote, and likely be confirmed by the Democratic majority.