The Senate on Monday confirmed the appointment as Labor Secretary of Marty Walsh, the first trade unionist to assume that portfolio in almost 50 years and who will have the mission to encourage employment after the pandemic expelled millions of people from the labor market.
The Upper House confirmed Walsh, who is the current mayor of Boston, with 68 votes in favor and 29 against.
About 20 Republicans backed the 53-year-old because of his close ties to Boston businesses as mayor of that city, a post he assumed in 2014; while Democrats supported him because of his closeness to the U.S. labor movement.
Between 2001 and 2013, Walsh was the president of the North American Building and Construction Trades Union (NABTU), which he joined in 1988 when, following in his father’s footsteps, he began working in construction and decided to leave his university studies.
Walsh also served as a state legislator in the Massachusetts lower house from 1997 to 2014.
Unions perceive him as one of their own and, from the beginning, he received the support of powerful labor unions such as AFL-CIO, the largest in the United States.
As U.S. Secretary of Labor, Walsh will have the responsibility of promoting job opportunities for the 18 million people who had to leave their jobs during the last year and are currently receiving unemployment benefits.
Marty plans to resign as mayor of Boston and head to the U.S. capital on Tuesday to begin work.