US Labor Secretary Marty Walsh is expected to leave the Biden administration to run the National Hockey League Players’ Association, according to two people familiar with his plans who spoke to the AP. The hockey players' union has been searching for a new executive director to take over for Don Fehr, who had been in charge for more than a decade. An association spokesperson had no official update on the situation when reached Tuesday. A serious fan of the Boston Bruins, Walsh showed an encyclopedic knowledge of the sport in videos posted online during his tenure from 2014 to 2021 as mayor of Boston.
As labor secretary, Walsh helped broker a temporary work agreement between major freight railroads and their unions, preventing the risk of a strike that could have disrupted the US economy ahead of the 2022 midterm elections. Congress later imposed a contract on the unions after workers failed to ratify the agreement. An administration official said Tuesday that Walsh was expected to leave his post after President Biden's State of the Union address, as did a second person familiar with Walsh's plans, who stressed that the plan was not yet final. Both people spoke on condition of anonymity.
Walsh was named “designated survivor” for Tuesday's speech, watching it from an undisclosed location. The idea is to preserve the government’s line of succession in case of an attack or another incident at the Capitol where the president, vice president, speaker of the House and the rest of Biden’s Cabinet were gathered. Walsh's departure would make him the first of Biden’s Cabinet secretaries to leave. White House chief of staff Ron Klain has his last day at the White House on Wednesday; he'll be replaced by Jeff Zients. And last week, Biden announced the upcoming departure of Brian Deese, the director of the National Economic Council. (More on Walsh's new position, and his potential replacements at the White House, here.)