Labor Secretary Skates to the Exit

Marty Walsh becomes latest Biden official to flee administration

Labor Secretary Marty Walsh / Getty Images
February 7, 2023

Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh is officially leaving the Biden administration to run the National Hockey League players' union, Politico reported Tuesday.

Sources told Politico that Walsh and the NHL Players Association are in contract negotiations. The Washington Free Beacon reported last week that Walsh was considering leaving the administration for the union job.

Walsh is a longtime friend and ally of President Joe Biden who ran Boston unions before becoming the city's mayor in 2014, facing controversies in both jobs. While the White House has praised Walsh for brokering a September "compromise between freight rail carriers and unions," Politico noted, rail unions later rejected that compromise.

Walsh's deputy and possible successor, Julie Su, faces controversies of her own. As California labor secretary, Su "oversaw an unemployment website plagued by glitches," which "paid out billions of dollars of fraudulent claims," the Free Beacon reported. The California state auditor blamed Su's department for mishandling the payments, "in large part because Su had waived eligibility considerations."

"With Republicans taking over control of the House, Walsh would have faced significant congressional oversight" from House Education and Workforce Committee chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R., N.C.), Politico noted. Foxx has criticized Walsh for joining a picket line in October 2021, saying that Walsh did "not remain an objective observer of what's happening, going and getting on the picket lines."

The labor secretary is only the latest Biden official to quit. Former chief science adviser Eric Lander stepped down last year after facing bullying accusations, while Chief of Staff Ron Klain and top economic adviser Brian Deese have both announced their resignations.

The White House and Labor Department have not announced when Walsh's last day will be.