TO THE MEMBERS OF THE SENATE COMMITTEE ON HEALTH, EDUCATION, LABOR AND PENSIONS:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce supports the nomination of Boston Mayor Marty Walsh to be Secretary of the Department of Labor. Mayor Walsh has a reputation as a consensus builder and has displayed a willingness to work with a wide array of constituencies.
Before and during his tenure as Mayor, he launched the “Building Pathways” program and the “Learn & Earn” Career Development Internship, and has collaborated with the business community to promote high-quality commercial and real estate development. Building Pathways and Learn & Earn are both important programs that have helped Boston-area residents find well-paying jobs. Both also contribute to closing race-based opportunity gaps in education and employment, which comprise an essential part of the Chamber’s “Equality of Opportunity” initiative. His cooperation with the business community and dedication to expanding employment and career opportunities uniquely qualifies Mayor Walsh to be Secretary of Labor.
There are several approaches we encourage Mayor Walsh to pursue in enforcing the laws that govern and define the obligations businesses have to their workers. These include protecting the flexibility to work as an independent contractor, limiting the application of “guidance” documents, pursuing balanced enforcement strategies that focus on resolving cases quickly so that employees receive their backpay and workplace hazards are abated, basing investigations and audits of federal contractors on actual complaints rather than hypothetical statistical modeling, and reducing administrative burdens that may discourage employers from offering or maintaining employee benefit plans.
The Chamber looks forward to working with Mayor Walsh as Secretary of Labor to advance our common interests in protecting employees while respecting the concerns of employers. We thank the Committee for scheduling the February 4 hearing, and encourage you to approve his nomination.
Suzanne P. Clark