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 February 18, 2023

Joe Biden announces that Labor Secretary Marty Walsh will resign

President Joe Biden said Friday that Labor Secretary Marty Walsh is resigning, the Daily Caller reported. Walsh is the third high-ranking member of the administration to leave since Biden's term began two years ago. 

Walsh is reportedly leaving to join the NHL Players’ Association, though Biden didn't specify that in his statement about the move Friday. "Marty Walsh is one tough union chief," Biden said.

"His record at the Department of Labor is a testament to the power of putting a card-carrying union member in charge of fighting for American workers," the president continued. "Marty has gone to bat for working families every day, and with his help, this administration has helped workers recover from a historic economic downturn and launch a new era of worker power," Biden added.

"Through Marty’s leadership, this administration has helped unions secure a historic pay raise for rail workers, continued the fight for paid sick days for all American workers, strengthened workplace protections, and ushered in a historic surge in union organizing," Biden touted. "He knows that unions make us all stronger, no matter what we do or where we come from," Biden said.

"My dad used to say that a job is about a lot more than a paycheck, it’s about dignity and it’s about respect," Biden contained. "Few people understand that more than Marty."

"I thank Marty for his work, which has made life better for millions of working Americans, and will serve as a model for all future Labor Secretaries who truly value American working people," the president concluded. Walsh joins two other high-profile departures from Biden's administration as of late.

The president has already lost Chief of Staff Ron Klain and Office of Science and Technology Policy Director Eric Lander. Some lower-level administration members have also left or are leaving, including economic adviser Brian Deese, White House Communications Director Kate Bedingfield, White House press secretary Jen Psaki, and Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement Cedric Richmond.

The labor secretary's departure comes after a contentious negotiation with railroad unions that ended with Congress overriding the process, the Boston Globe reported. Many saw this as a failure of a pro-union administration with Walsh and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg at the center of it.

Then, a train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, earlier this month has many connecting the dots between the failure to meet union demands, including better working conditions and safety oversight, and the accident. It's unclear if that figured into Walsh's decision to depart.

Publicly, Walsh announced he would leave his post in mid-March to take his new position as executive director of the NHLPA. "In accepting this offer, I am committing to do all that I can to advocate on players' behalf," Walsh said in a statement, according to CBS News.

"My years of experience in the labor movement and in public life has taught me that the job is never about me. It's about us. It's about the people we serve," the 55-year-old said.

In his resignation letter to the Labor Department, Walsh said he was "profoundly grateful" for the role he would relinquish. "As someone who grew up in an active union family and is a card-carrying union member, serving as secretary of labor and being given this unique opportunity to help working people is itself a privilege," he wrote, echoing the president.

"But to do so for the most pro-worker and pro-union President and administration in our nation's history has been the ultimate honor," Walsh continued. "I am forever grateful to President Biden not only for the faith he placed in me, but for his steady, transformative and historic leadership on behalf of working people everywhere."

The Biden administration has not seen much personnel turnover relative to other administrations. However, Walsh's exit at such a pivotal time could indicate trouble on the horizon for Biden.

Written By:
Christine Favocci

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