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Marty Walsh, President-elect Biden's nominee for labor secretary. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President-elect Biden has named Boston Mayor Marty Walsh as his nominee for labor secretary. If confirmed, Walsh will be tasked with leading the country's workers through one of the toughest eras in recent memory.

The big picture: Americans are confronting workplace safety during a pandemic, wrestling with the instability of gig work, experiencing widespread unemployment and more.

What they're saying: Normally, I would say, 'Who cares who is labor secretary?'" says John Logan, a U.S. labor historian at San Francisco State University. "This time there does seem to be more substance."

Here are some of the biggest issues Walsh will have to tackle from day one:

  • Revitalize the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. "OSHA has been severely neglected under the Trump Department of Labor," with the number of inspectors falling every year except 2020, Logan says. Look for Walsh to build this agency back up, as it plays a huge role in curbing the spread of the virus within workplaces.
  • Address the inequities exacerbated by the pandemic. Walsh's Department of Labor will be tasked with examining how and why the pandemic recession has disproportionately hurt communities of color.
  • Issue guidance on the classification of gig workers. Walsh will have to wade into the national debate over whether gig workers are employees or independent contractors.

Go deeper

Unemployment filings explode again as pandemic slams job market

Volunteers distribute meals at a food bank in Pennsylvania last month. (Photo: Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images)

More than 1.4 million Americans filed for jobless claims last week โ€” a figure that includes first-time filings for regular state unemployment and another program for non-traditional workers.

Why it matters: Itโ€™s another surge in the number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits, an additional sign the labor market is facing more strain as the coronavirus continues to ravage the country.

Updated 2 hours ago - Sports

Olympics dashboard

๐Ÿšจ: Japan's Naomi Osaka lights Olympic cauldron; Photos

๐Ÿ‘ป: How the no-spectator Olympics could affect the athletes

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ: "What an honor it is to watch you soar," first lady tells U.S. Olympians

๐ŸŒ: Meet the underdogs from Latin America

๐Ÿฅ‡: The six new sports at Tokyo 2020

๐Ÿ’‰ About 100 U.S. Olympic athletes are unvaccinated

โœ๏ธ Axios at the Olympics: What it's like inside the opening ceremony

Go deeper: Full Axios coverage

Senate Democrats demand answers on FBI's Kavanaugh probe

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Senate Democrats are demanding that the FBI hand over "all records and communications" related to the FBI tip line set up to investigate Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh when he was a nominee in 2018.

Why it matters: The ask comes after the FBI revealed it received more than 4,500 tips about Kavanaugh when he was awaiting Senate confirmation amid sexual assault allegations. Only the most "relevant" of these tips were forwarded to the Trump White House.