WILMINGTON, Del. (CBS) – Boston Mayor Marty Walsh was formally be introduced as President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee for Labor Secretary Friday. Walsh joined Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris at an event in Wilmington, Delaware.
Biden called Walsh “tough as nails” and “a good friend.”
“He sees how union workers have been holding this country together during this crisis, health care workers keeping our hospitals safe, clean and effective and efficient,” said Biden. “This is one of the most important departments to me; I trust Mayor Walsh.”
If confirmed, Walsh would be the first union member to be Secretary of Labor in nearly 50 years.
In a tweet Thursday night, Walsh promised to “work just as hard for you as you do for your families and livelihoods.”
At his nomination on Friday, Walsh thanked Biden for the opportunity to serve. “The word labor means everything to me,” Walsh said.
Watch Mayor Marty Walsh Speak After He Is Nominated To Be Labor Secretary
“I learned what it took to turn an honest day’s work into an honest day’s pay. I saw what fighting for good jobs, good benefits, a safe workplace does for the lives of hard-working men and women and their families,” he said about his time in a union.
“Working people have been struggling for a long time under the erosion of their rights, and the deep inequalities of race, gender, and class,” Walsh continued. “We are facing hard times, but nobody’s tougher than the American worker. And now we have the opportunity to put power back in the hands of working people all across this country.”
The nomination is being celebrated by local labor leaders, who believe they’ve been missing a voice in Washington. “He knows the struggles working people go through every single day and just knowing that, and bringing that to the table in Washington is huge,” said Lou Antonellis of IBEW Local 103.
Walsh and Biden have been friends for several years. Biden attended and swore in the mayor for his second term in 2018.
Biden also said he considered nominating Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders for the position, “but after Tuesday’s results in Georgia, giving democratic control of the United States Senate in a tie vote, Bernie and I agreed we can’t put control of the Senate at risk, in an outcome of a special election in Vermont.”
Walsh was first elected mayor in 2013. Before that, he was a state representative for nearly 20 years and held leadership positions in multiple labor unions.