Reported by Nick Niedzwiadek and Olivia Olander for Politico Pro.
President Joe Biden has tapped former union leader Brendan Danaher to serve as a top labor adviser at the White House.
Danaher fills the role — deputy director of the National Economic Council for labor and economy — left by Celeste Drake, who stepped down from the administration last month to serve at the International Labor Organization, a United Nations agency. He joins Erika Dinkel-Smith, who tackles labor issues under the White House’s Office of Political Strategy and Outreach.
“Brendan’s deep experience and relationships in government and the labor movement will make him a tremendous asset as the National Economic Council’s Labor Deputy,” NEC Director Lael Brainard said in a statement. “Brendan will help ensure that working Americans remain at the center of President Biden’s economic policy.”
Danaher advised the Biden transition on transportation issues as part of one of its “agency review teams”and joined the Department of Transportation in late 2021 as a labor policy adviser.
Danaher’s last day at DOT was Friday and he began at the NEC Monday, according to a White House official not authorized to speak publicly.
An email request for comment to Danaher returned an automatic reply that he was no longer employed at DOT.
Before joining the Biden administration, Danaher was a top official for the Transport Workers Union, including serving as its executive director. Earlier in his career, he also worked at the Transportation Trades Department of the AFL-CIO.
The news of Danaher’s appointment was first reported by Bloomberg.
It comes as Biden faces high-profile ongoing negotiations between United Auto Workers and Detroit automakers, as well as arecent surge in strike activity throughout the country. The administration designated a point person, Gene Sperling, to deal with the UAW negotiations, which pose a delicate political balance.
Danaher will work with Sperling, according to the White House official.
The Labor Department itself, a separate entity from the NEC, has been without a confirmed top official since March, as acting Labor secretary Julie Su has taken on the role indefinitely. Several of DOL’s sub-agency offices are also without Senate-confirmed leadership as Biden’s appointees have struggled to clear the narrowly divided chamber.
Danaher, Dinkel-Smith and Sperling will all work with Su on labor issues, the White House official said.
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