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UAW pushes U.S. Rep. Andy Levin for Biden labor post

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

The UAW is pushing for President-elect Joe Biden to pick U.S. Rep. Andy Levin, a Bloomfield Township Democrat, as his U.S. Labor Department secretary, officials confirmed Thursday.

"After a survey of the board, the UAW  International Union sent a letter earlier today to the Biden Transition Team recommending" Levin for the position, spokesman Brian Rothenberg told The Detroit News in an email.

Other details of the letter were not immediately available Thursday night.

A representative for Levin said they would not comment at this time.

U.S. Rep. Andy Levin, left, talks with Clinton Township clerk Kim Meltzer and Army veteran and newly elected Trustee Tammy Patton after a socially distanced Veterans Day ceremony at Resurrection Cemetery in Clinton Township on Wednesday.

News of the recommendation comes as other unions back Levin for the Cabinet post.

The Communication Workers of America this week endorsed the progressive congressman for the post.

Levin previously worked in the UAW's health and safety department. He organized health care workers for the Service Employees International Union in the 1980s in Michigan, then was staff attorney to the presidential Commission on the Future of Worker-Management Relations and in the secretary’s office of the U.S. Department of Labor during the Clinton administration. 

For 11 years, Levin worked in organizing at the national AFL-CIO in Washington, D.C., before returning to Michigan to serve in Gov. Jennifer Granholm's administration as chief workforce officer and later as head of the state Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth. There, he created and ran the No Worker Left Behind initiative to train unemployed Michigan residents for jobs in the last recession.

Levin was just reelected for a second term in Congress and has said he's excited about returning to the House, where he is vice chair of the Education and Labor Committee.

He recently told The News he would consider Biden's offer to serve in his administration "especially if it was to continue my lifelong fight to increase the voice and power of working people in this country." 

Other names floated for the Biden labor post include Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, California Labor Secretary Julie Su, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, former acting Labor Secretary Seth Harris and even Obama's former Labor Secretary Tom Perez, who now heads the Democratic National Committee. 

A spokesman for the Biden transition team said it has not made any personnel decisions at this time.

Staff Writer Melissa Nann Burke contributed