It is no secret that President elect Biden is a friend to labor. Now, he has chosen Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, a former union president, to head the Department of Labor. Even with a divided Congress, the Labor Secretary has broad powers to take action. As head of the Department of Labor, Walsh has the power to enact far reaching regulatory changes and step up enforcement of its regulations in the workplace. As mayor, Walsh has been friendly to labor of course–but surprisingly an ally to business as well. Walsh’s mayoral tenure gives us some clues:
- Federal minimum wage $15.00: Full commitment by this administration on this.
- Workplace safety: Heightened by COVID-19, Walsh enacted many provisions in this area
- Worker misclassification: as we blogged earlier this week, the employee-employer relationship is heavily favored by the new administration. Expect the rescission of Trump era regulations and re-enactment of many from the Obama administration on this and many other workplace issues.
- Wage and Hour: Rescission of Trump wage and hour letters plus action on raising minimum threshold overtime for salaried workers; calculation of tipped employees to 80-20 rule; and fluctuating workweek overtime calculation for overtime.
- Jobs, jobs, jobs: this is a critical area and one where Walsh has shown his willingness to work with the business community. As mayor, Marty Walsh brought in major companies to Boston and created several jobs programs with the private sector. The current jobs numbers will require enormous initiative to grow jobs.
In selecting Marty Walsh, Biden satisfied his commitment to unions but also sought a person who is willing to act as a deal maker with the business community. The current challenges are enormous–COVID-19 and the fallout on the jobs market will demand immediate action. We will keep you posted on the many expected changes at the DOL.
Questions? Is your workforce winter ready as coronavirus cases climb and the new administration commits to hiring more OSHA investigators? Protect your business and your employees with our COVID-19 Stay Healthy Aid Kit.