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 August 9, 2023

Biden's labor adviser departs as nationwide strikes grow

Biden administration labor adviser Celeste Drake is leaving her role in Washington as nationwide strikes continue to grow.

Drake is reportedly taking a role as the Deputy Director-General of the International Labor Organization (ILO), based in Geneva, Switzerland.

The timing

"Drake's departure comes at a critical time for an administration dealing with a summer of labor unrest, with estimates from national labor unions showing more than 650,000 U.S. workers were on or threatened strikes in the first half of 2023," Reuters reported.

"Hollywood actors and writers are currently on strike, and auto worker unions last month warned they are prepared to do the same unless Detroit's Big Three automakers - General Motors (GM.N), Ford Motor (F.N) and Chrysler parent Stellantis (STLAM.MI) - agree to fair contracts. Workers at UPS (UPS.N) and its Teamsters union just signed a tentative labor deal," it added.

Labor struggles

"Drake led labor policy at the National Economic Council (NEC), along with Erika Dinkel-Smith, who has been promoted to senior labor adviser in the Office of Political Strategy. Drake was pivotal during the labor disputes between the UPS and Teamsters, which were resolved last month, as well as the deal to avert a rail strike that came together late last year," the Hill reported.

"She left her post as the White House has struggled to get its nominee for Labor secretary, Julie Su, through the Senate. Su’s nomination is largely at a standstill because she doesn’t have support from moderate Democrats to get confirmed," it added.

Part of Bidenomics

"Many Americans who are fed up with the state of the economy directly blame 'Bidenomics' for the current state of the country. And from what Reuters is reporting, Drake played an outsized role in creating parts of 'Bidenomics,'" IJR reported.

“She was involved deeply on some of the most consequential labor negotiations that we’ve seen from ports to railways and also in crafting policy around how to support workers,” said Brian Deese, former director of the White House’s National Economic Council.

The report comes as Hollywood strikes for both actors and writers continue to keep late-night shows shut down and new productions from moving forward.

Drake's replacement will also face the challenge of ending strikes like this week's L.A. city workers' strike that took place due to "unfair" labor practices.

The Biden administration needs a win when it comes to labor, hoping to secure a new adviser who can help as the president seeks a second term.

Written By:
Dillon Burroughs

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