Labor Secretary Walsh Departing to Lead NHL Player Union

The DOL confirmed reports that Walsh will depart in mid-March; deputy secretary Julie Su will serve as acting secretary.

Marty Walsh

U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh is resigning his cabinet post to become the next executive director of the NHL Players’ Association, according to the NHL and Department of Labor. The announcements confirmed reports of his departure that surfaced last week.

The players’ association said its executive board unanimously appointed Walsh as NHLPA executive director after a nine-month vetting process. Walsh will serve as Labor Secretary until mid-March, and Deputy Secretary Julie Su will serve as acting secretary, according to a spokesperson.

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The move will put Walsh, the mayor of Boston from 2014 to 2021, back atop a labor organization. From 2011 to 2013, he led the Boston Building Trades Council. In a resignation letter to colleagues at the DOL, Walsh referred to his childhood growing up in a union family and emphasized the department’s work to forward labor organizations.

Serving as Secretary of Labor and being given this unique opportunity to help
working people is itself a privilege,” Walsh wrote. “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.

In listing the department’s accomplishments since he took the post in 2021, he emphasized work done to champion labor rights and unions.

“We promoted every worker’s right to form a union, rallied the entire federal government to advance labor rights, and provided critical information and support to workers during a historic surge in union organizing activity,” he wrote.

Walsh also praised Deputy Secretary Su, calling her an “incredible leader” and saying she has been a central part of “our success as a team.”

Walsh leaves the DOL at a time when it is dealing with litigation against several of the department’s rules. A U.S. District Court judge last week overturned part of the fiduciary rule addressing rollover recommendations and 25 state attorneys general in January sued  seeking to overturn the rule that permits the use of ESG in retirement plans, while also preparing for many rulemaking obligations derived from the SECURE 2.0 Act of 2022.

Walsh, 55, will succeed Don Fehr as head of the NHL Players’ Association. Fehr departed in April 2022 after being in the post for more than a decade.