Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley speaks during day three of the Democratic National Convention in 2016.

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley speaks during day three of the Democratic National Convention in 2016. NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images

Coalition of unions endorses O’Malley to lead Social Security

The Federal Workers Alliance urged senators to move quickly to confirm President Biden’s nominee to run the Social Security Administration, noting that the embattled agency has been without a permanent commissioner for eight of the last 10 years.

A coalition of 35 labor unions that represent federal workers last week joined the chorus of stakeholders endorsing former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley to serve as commissioner of the Social Security Administration and urged senators to move quickly to confirm him to his post.

The Federal Workers Alliance, which consists of a variety of labor groups collectively representing more than 550,000 federal workers and postal employees, including the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, the National Federation of Federal Employees and the National Treasury Employees Union, announced their support in an Aug. 25 letter to senators.

“This important agency, which has operated without a confirmed head for eight of the last 10 years, needs the Senate to act promptly to confirm Gov. O’Malley as its commissioner,” they wrote. “Our members are among the 60 million Americans who depend on the effective functioning of the Social Security Administration for crucial, life-sustaining benefits, and our coalition includes unions representing some of the 60,000 federal employees who are committed to SSA’s mission and serving the seniors, disabled workers and surviving family who count on these benefits.”

Like other groups who have endorsed Biden’s selection of O’Malley, the coalition touted his adoption of data analytics tools at both the state and local levels as governor and mayor of Baltimore to improve agency service delivery. And they stressed that those reforms were made collaboratively with the workforces of those government agencies.

“Crucially, O’Malley ensured that affected workers and their representatives had a seat at the table when discussing modernizing processes or achieving efficiencies within city and state agencies,” they wrote. “In addition to ensuring them a seat at the table, Gov. O’Malley used his office to advocate for workers’ basic rights. During his time in Annapolis, the number of Marylanders who had the right to bargain collectively expanded more than under the tenure of any other modern governor.”

The Social Security Administration has been without a permanent commissioner since Biden ousted Andrew Saul, a Trump appointee, in 2021. The agency is embattled by myriad challenges, including a shrinking and increasingly overworked workforce and extensive backlogs and wait times both within the disability review process and at field offices.

“Americans who rely on Social Security benefits, along with those workers in your state who proudly process those benefits and work to support the agency, need the Senate to act quickly to confirm Gov. Martin O’Malley as its next commissioner,” the coalition wrote. “We are sure that you and your staff hear every day from your constituents about the issues at SSA that arise from the agency operating for the better part of a decade under leadership that has neither the ability to address the agency’s immediate needs nor the authority to implement long-term reforms.”

The Senate Finance Committee has yet to schedule a confirmation hearing for O’Malley, although the chamber has been on recess for more than a month.