NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Looks like organized labor will take a more prominent seat at the table.

Earlier today, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York announced that AFL-CIO President Denis Hughes was named chairman of the New York Fed's board of directors. According to most accounts, this marks the first time a labor boss has headed the group's board.

The appointment comes on the heels of some controversy.

In May, former chief economic policy adviser to President George W. Bush and Goldman Sachs ( GS) Chair Stephen Friedman abruptly resigned from his New York Fed chair spot after reports of potential conflicts with his former firm began to swirl.

After Goldman became a bank holding company, thereby putting it under the purview of Fed officials, Friedman continued to purchase Goldman shares. Friedman maintained the moves were above board.

Hughes, who has served as acting chair since Friedman left, will remain chair for the rest of 2009. He was appointed deputy chairman in 2007 and first joined the New York Fed as a director in 2004. Lee Bollinger, President of Columbia University, will step into the deputy chair role.

-- Reported by Sung Moss in New York
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