Marty Walsh, President Biden’s labor secretary and a Lower Mills resident, will leave his federal post to head the NHL’s players union, according to multiple media reports Tuesday. The news was first reported by Daily Faceoff, a hockey outlet.
TSN, a Canadian sports channel, first reported the news that Walsh was a candidate for the high-paying position last week.
Walsh himself has stayed mum on the job. He appeared on CNN on Feb. 3, and when asked about the potential move, said, “I’m not going to make any personal news today.”
If he does indeed make the move, the 55-year-old Walsh would succeed Donald Fehr, 74, who has served in the job since 2010. His salary is expected to be $3 million, up from the $203,000 he earns as labor secretary.
Walsh has served as the secretary of the US Labor Department since March 2021, when he left Boston City Hall’s top job for the Biden administration. He has maintained his residence in Dorchester, where his longtime partner Lorrie Higgins and his mother Mary still live.
He will be the first cabinet-level member of the Biden administration to leave. The news broke as the administration geared up for Biden’s “State of the Union” speech on Capitol Hill.
For a brief moment in January, Walsh’s name was in circulation for the post of White House chief of staff, a job that ended up in the hands of Jeff Zients, who coordinated the administration’s COVID-19 response.
Walsh won two terms as mayor. He beat out 11 other candidates vying to succeed Mayor Thomas Menino, who opted not to run for a sixth term. His second term came after he beat then-Councillor Tito Jackson in 2017.
Walsh’s seven years as mayor followed 17 years as one of Dorchester’s state representatives on Beacon Hill. During his time as a lawmaker, he was also a labor leader, ascending to the top post at the Building and Construction Trades Council after following his father into Laborers Local 223.
Walsh is also a longtime Boston sports fan, and widely known for buying season tickets to the New England Patriots.
Rep. Dan Hunt, who succeeded Walsh in representing part of Dorchester in the state Legislature after Walsh entered City Hall, called the move a “great selection.” “I think he’s shown extremely effective leadership in his role as labor secretary,” Hunt said.
In testimony before Congress in April 2022, Walsh said his vision as labor secretary is “to empower workers morning, noon and night.” He noted that the Labor Department recovered $230 million in back pay for more than 190,000 workers, working out to an average of $1,200 per employee.
Walsh will be following former Gov. Charlie Baker into the sports arena after a lengthy career in politics. The NCAA announced in December that Baker, who left the governor’s office at the beginning of January after two four-year terms, would become its president.