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Biden Adds 27 Union Leaders to Transition Team

15 Agency Review Teams include union officials

Kris LaGrange's picture
Nov 11, 2020

With Joe Biden becoming the President-elect on Saturday, the process of transitioning from Trump to Biden has begun. Even without the help of Trump or the General Services Administration (GSA), Biden is moving forward to ensure as seamless a transition as possible.

The first step in this is to establish agency review teams that will manage the transition and begin crafting policies for the agency. The transition teams are being overseen by a transition advisory board, which Biden named earlier in the year. This board includes two union Presidents, Teresa Romero of the United Farm Workers and Lonnie Stephenson of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

On Tuesday, Biden announced the members of these teams and included a number of union officials.

Department of Labor

For union members the Labor Department is probably 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)
  • Micheal 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 were also appointed to 14 other review teams, showing the expanse reach of unions and the immense knowledge that union leaders and staffers bring. Below are the labor appointments. Click here for a full list of review team members.

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

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (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 United States 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

United States Department of Agriculture

  • LaQuita Honeysucker, Legislative Director, United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW)

United State Postal Service

  • Jim Sauber, Chief of Staff, National Association of Letter Carriers

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