WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) today voted to confirm Mayor Marty Walsh as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). Walsh was confirmed as President Biden’s Labor Secretary with a 68-29 vote. He will be the first union member to serve in this role in nearly 50 years.

“Our nation is in crisis—millions of hardworking Americans have lost their jobs, while workers and middle-class families have borne the brunt of this pandemic and economic crisis,” said Duckworth. “Marty Walsh has the experience and resolve to help President Biden lead us out of these unprecedented times and begin recovering from this pandemic. I am confident that as Secretary of Labor, he will be an effective advocate for workers’ rights and small businesses alike, and I look forward to working with him to strengthen worker protections, expand paid family leave and build back a better, more inclusive and resilient economy that works for Illinoisans—and all Americans.”

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Duckworth’s Relief for Working Families Act was included in the bipartisan COVID-19 relief deal and omnibus agreement to fund the United States Government through the end of the fiscal year this past December. This legislation authorizes states to waive Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) payments that were improperly provided to residents who acted in good faith and played no role in securing the surplus PUA overpayment.

Duckworth is also a vocal opponent of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) failure to prioritize workers’ safety against COVID-19 while at work. In the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, she introduced legislation to require OSHA to promulgate an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) to protect frontline healthcare workers who are at increased risk of exposure to the coronavirus. She also introduced legislation which would require OSHA to issue an ETS requiring employers to develop and implement a comprehensive plan to protect workers and keep them safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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