News Releases

Senator Murray Announces New Labor Staff Director

May 19 2008

Workforce development veteran Gerri Fiala to lead Murray's HELP Employment and Workplace Safety Subcommittee, workforce training efforts

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) announced that she has hired Gerard "Gerri" Fiala to be her Staff Director for the HELP Subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety. As part of that role, Senator Murray has asked Fiala to spearhead her ongoing efforts to build a more highly-skilled workforce and prepare students to fill family-wage job openings in Washington state and across the country.

Prior to her appointment as Senator Murray's Staff Director, Fiala served as Director of Workforce Research at the National Center on Education and the Economy. Prior to that, Fiala spent 17 years as a senior career official at the Department of Labor (DOL). At DOL, Fiala led an interagency team charged by the Secretary of Labor to secure job training reform. Her efforts culminated in the Workforce Investment Act of 1998, and Title V of the Older Americans Act Amendments of 2000. Fiala also co-led interagency teams to secure the Trade Adjustment Assistance Act, and Welfare to Work legislation. 

"I am extremely pleased to have Gerri joining my staff," Senator Murray said. "Gerri brings valuable experience on workforce and labor issues that will be critical as we work to strengthen today’s labor force and build tomorrow’s. I look forward to utilizing her skills, experience, and leadership to help keep our country’s hard working families our top priority.”

“I’ve long looked up to Senator Murray as a champion for working Americans, particularly those who are not being treated fairly or given the opportunities they deserve,” said Fiala. “I’m excited to join her team and eager to help tackle the daunting challenges our workers face during these tough economic times.”

Fiala will lead Murray's oversight and legislative efforts on the Employment and Workplace Safety Subcommittee. Critical to those efforts will be identifying solutions to build "multiple pathways" for high school students to obtain long-term, family-wage jobs in the globally competitive market through training and education efforts. Murray will continue to use her oversight role to protect workers that have often been hurt by the Bush administration's policies of deregulation and self-regulation of workplace safety issues. Murray will also continue to fight for workers' rights to organize and collectively bargain.