Biden adds 27 union leaders to transition team

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Union leaders who worked for and celebrated the election of Joe Biden as president didn’t have long to wait for him to prove his mettle as a pro-Labor president-elect.

Even as President Donald Trump continues to file frivolous lawsuits hoping to overturn the election results, President-elect Biden has begun the process of transitioning from a Trump to a Biden presidency.

Trump has refused to concede the election, and his appointee at the General Services Administration (GSA) refused to release transitioning funds, but Biden is moving forward to ensure as seamless a transition as possible, starting with establishing agency review teams that will manage the transition and begin crafting policies for the various government agencies.

The transition teams are being overseen by a transition advisory board, which Biden named earlier in the year. That board includes two union presidents, Teresa Romero of the United Farm Workers and Lonnie Stephenson of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

Biden announced the members of the agency review teams last week, and included 27 union officials.

DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
For union members the Labor Department is the most important agency within the federal government.

The team at the Department of Labor will be responsible for reviewing the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, the Federal Labor Relations Authority, the National Mediation Board, the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services, the Railroad Retirement Board, and the National Labor Relations Board. Signifying the Department’s importance Biden appointed the most union officials in this Department including:

  • Jennifer Abruzzo, former general counsel to the NLRB and currently the special counsel for strategic initiatives with the Communications Workers of America (CWA).
  • Jessica Chu, chief of staff and special counsel to the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU).
  • Michael Hazard, United Association’s (UA) Veterans in Piping Program administrator
  • Nadia Marin-Molina, executive director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), a group that organizes and helps day laborers, migrant and low wage workers.
  • Shaun O’Brien, assistant director of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME)’s Research of Collective Bargaining Services division.
  • Patricia Smith, senior counsel for the union-affiliated National Employment Law Project (NELP). Before that Smith worked for President Obama as a solicitor of Labor.
  • Lynn Rhineheart, senior fellow at the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) and the former general counsel for the AFL-CIO.

Other people added to the committee include former Labor Department and OSHA officials as well as state Labor department officials. The Department of Labor team is being run by Chris Lu, who was the former Deputy Secretary of Labor under President Barack Obama.

Union officials also were appointed to 14 other agency review teams, including:

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
Beth Antunez, deputy director, American Federation of Teachers (AFT).
Donna Harris-Aikens, senior director of education policy and practice, National Education Association (NEA).
Shital Shah, associate director, AFT.
Marla Ucelli-Kashyap, director of education issues, AFT.

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY
Brad Markell, executive director of the Industrial Union Council, AFL-CIO.

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
Sarah Nolan, deputy policy director for healthcare, Service Employees International Union (SEIU).

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
Rocia Inclan-Rodriguez, senior director Center for Social Justice, NEA.

DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Owen Herrnstadt, chief of staff to the international president, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM).

DEPARTMENT OF TREASURY
Damon Silvers, director of policy and special counsel, AFL-CIO.

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Dave Barnett, director of pipeline and gas distribution, UA.
Brendan Danaher, government affairs director Transport Workers Union (TWU).
• David Cameron, assistant to the director, International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT).

FEDERAL RESERVE
Renaye Manley, international representative, SEIU.
Damon Silvers, director of policy and special counsel, AFL-CIO.

NASA
David Weaver, communications director, Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA).

OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT
Melody Gonzales, senior policy and program specialist, NEA.

OFFICE OF THE U.S. TRADE REPRESENTATIVE
Celeste Drake, head of government affairs, Directors Guild of America and former trade and globalization policy specialist for the AFL-CIO.
Julie Greene, mobilization director, AFL-CIO.

SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION
Scott Frey, counselor to the president, AFSCME.

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
LaQuita Honeysucker, legislative director, United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW).

U.S. POSTAL SERVICE
Jim Sauber, chief of staff, National Association of Letter Carriers.

2 COMMENTS

  1. A representative from the International Union of Operating Engineers should be on this list. The infrastructure of America depends on the skilled members of our great union.

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