Diving Brief: Shortly after his confirmation as Labor Secretary on March 22, Marty Walsh highlighted a number of issues he sees as critical priorities for the American workforce, including making sure workers feel safe on the job, and reconsidering the need for temporary emergencies. . The standard on COVID-19, activating workplace inspectors, getting women back to work and rebuilding the middle class through union membership. In the days following the swearing-in, Walsh shared his thoughts on the issues he faces in his new position and emphasized his vision for the Labor Department and OSHA. “What we want to do is make sure to restore confidence and respect to those workers who work on behalf of the American people every day. OSHA is a big part of it,” Walsh told PBS reporter Judy Woodruff. “We will hire hundreds of new OSHA inspectors. We will train them. We will get them out on the job site.” Dive Insight: Walsh’s comments came as the administration of President Joe Biden pledged to focus on $ 3 trillion to rebuild better infrastructure, and the fresh passage of the $ 1.9 trillion US bailout plan earlier in March. While Walsh promoted the importance of this legislation, he also identified specific areas that he said were important for returning to work, including issues important to contractors. For example, while the US bailout extended the weekly $ 300 supplemental unemployment benefits until September 6, Walsh said that these payments are not necessarily the best way to get people back to work. Many contractors suffered from it early in the pandemic, when supplemental weekly payments of $ 600 meant that some workers were earning more through unemployment benefits than working. “We cannot continue to extend unemployment benefits and not return our economy to normal,” Walsh told Woodruff, before shining light on his experience in the construction industry, returning to his message that workers feel safe at work. “People need to be safe in their work sites. I am a former construction worker, and safety should be the # 1 priority, not only in construction, but also in all different industries across our country.” ETS is yet to die like this, and Walsh has also left open to the possibility that OSHA ETS may issue COVID-19. While President Biden gave the agency a March 15 deadline to consider the need for a unified set of rules to combat the spread of the virus in the workplace, they did not meet them, and Walsh said the issue is still on the table. Walsh told the Washington Post in an interview published on March 24: “I have another briefing today to talk about the temporary emergency standard, so we hope we have something that we’ll all look at to a real point soon.” We’ll take our time to do it right. ”Unions and the middle class As one of Biden’s appointees, who has pledged himself to be the“ most pro-union president ever, ”Walsh, a former labor organizer, highlighted his affinity for the unions. If you look at the decline of the middle class and you look at the decline of the labor movement, there is a correlation between them. ”“ I think when you see more people joining and joining unions, you will see more people in the middle class. ”At the same time, when asked if they are. Management can help reverse the trend of declining union membership, he said his job, or the job of management, is not to compose union membership lists. “I don’t necessarily think it’s up to the management or me to do that. It is about organized work. That’s their role and responsibility to do that, “Walsh told PBS.” But I think the Department of Labor has a chance to take on a bigger role. There is now an employment-friendly administration in Washington. ”Women return to work Another topic that Walsh highlighted at various points in his public comments was funding enhanced childcare programs to help women return to work. This was the focus of his comments Thursday during the Bright Start Care Tour Early and preschoolers in Washington, DC “As people return to work, women are disproportionately affected by the COVID crisis and get quality childcare. This is great childcare. This is one of the reasons we came here,” he said after touring the facility and met the staff. Children and parents, according to The Hill.