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Labor Secretary Marty Walsh leaving Biden administration to lead NHL players' union

Labor secretary on delays in wage theft cases
Labor Secretary Marty Walsh apologizes for long wait times in wage theft cases 07:09

Washington — Labor Secretary Marty Walsh is leaving the Biden administration to become the executive director for the NHL players' union, the first Cabinet secretary to leave the administration since President Biden took office.

The NHL Players' Association (NHLPA) announced Thursday that Walsh has been unanimously appointed to lead the association. The Boston native's departure had been expected for several weeks.

"I am honored to have been selected as the Executive Director of the NHLPA," Walsh said in a statement. "In accepting this offer I am committing to do all that I can to advocate on players' behalf. My years of experience in the labor movement and in public life has taught me that the job is never about me. It's about us. It's about the people we serve."

Walsh, 55, wrote in a letter to Labor Department staff that he will leave his role in mid-March.

"I told the president how profoundly grateful I am for the opportunity to serve," Walsh said. "As someone who grew up in an active union family and is a card-carrying union member, serving as secretary of labor and being given this unique opportunity to help working people is itself a privilege. 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. I am forever grateful to President Biden not only for the faith he placed in me, but for his steady, transformative and historic leadership on behalf of working people everywhere."

Walsh's letter also touched on his childhood battle with cancer, and his battle with addiction as an adult, saying his "life has been defined by second chances, and our work delivered second chances to millions of people in this country who needed them."

President Biden praised Walsh in a statement Friday. 

"My dad used to say that a job is about a lot more than a paycheck, it's about dignity and it's about respect," the president said. "Few people understand that more than Marty. I thank Marty for his work, which has made life better for millions of working Americans, and will serve as a model for all future labor secretaries who truly value American working people."

Before joining the Biden administration, Walsh was the mayor of Boston from 2014 to 2021. He also served Massachusetts in Congress for 16 years. He was the designated survivor for this year's State of the Union address. 

Mr. Biden has not floated any potential replacements for Walsh yet. 

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