Posted January 7, 2021
The following is a statement from Rebecca Dixon, executive director of the National Employment Law Project:
“The National Employment Law Project (NELP) congratulates Boston Mayor Marty Walsh on being nominated by the Biden-Harris administration to the post of Secretary of Labor of the United States.
“The Secretary of Labor has a key role to play at this historic juncture when workers are facing not only the formidable challenges of the pandemic and economic downturn, but also the consequences of four years of the outgoing administration’s harmful policies and weakened protections. Now is the time to restore the federal government’s capacity to serve the public and to protect workers not just from exploitation by low-road employers, but also from the growing power of corporations and employers to impose their will on workers—whether it be in the form of low wages, unsafe working conditions, unpaid overtime, forced arbitration and class and collective action waivers, or misclassification of employees as independent contractors.
“We urge Mayor Walsh to carry out the mission of the Labor Department with compassion and vision, going beyond reversing harmful policies and instead centering the workers most impacted by deeply entrenched structural inequities due to race, national origin, disability, or for any unjust reason, and supporting the structural change needed for all workers to thrive.
“NELP has previously released six recommended goals for the Biden-Harris administration, and we will seek to collaborate with the administration and its Labor Department to accomplish these goals. We expect high standards and accountability to the demands of workers who seek to rebalance power between them and their employers. We also expect the Secretary of Labor to immediately champion a robust relief package; an enforceable emergency temporary standard to protect workers from COVID-19; increased and extended unemployment payments; and a stimulus package–particularly in the form of state, local, and tribal aid—that will meet the needs of millions of people.
“The time is now to prioritize the needs of underpaid Black and Indigenous people and other people of color, with special attention to women, people with disabilities, and immigrants. A recovery that is inclusive of their needs is a more robust recovery for all workers.
NELP urges the incoming Labor Department, under Mayor Walsh’s leadership and in partnership with workers across the country, to fight tirelessly for better wages and benefits that cover workers from youth to retirement, safer jobs, the right to organize, better healthcare, and a meaningful voice at work. We stand ready to be an active partner in these fights and look forward to enacting bold policies that go beyond restoring a failed status quo, and instead build new rights and equity for everyone in this country of such vast wealth and resources.”