Card Check: Rep. Solis and the Labor Secretary’s Post

By December 18, 2008Labor Unions

News coverage and commentary:

From Tapped, the blog of The American Prospect, a post by Harold Meyerson, an editor of the magazine and the Washington Post’s left-wing op-ed columnist, “Hilda Solis is Great.”

What does Rep. Hilda Solis, Barack Obama’s selection for secretary of labor, bring to the job? Only a record of passionate commitment to working people, a high level of political smarts, and some genuine displays of raw guts that could make her a star of American liberalism. …[snip]

While in the legislature, Solis also became the chief proponent in state government for the environmental justice movement that was bubbling up in various working-class communities around the state, steering to passage bills that reduced airborne carcinogens in industrial areas and that created parkland alongside the rivers that run through some of Los Angeles’ poorest neighborhoods. She took a leading role in promoting domestic violence awareness in the state’s communities of color….[snip]

In the House, Solis has continued to champion labor causes, immigrants’ rights, women’s health and environmental protections. She also worked closely with Rahm Emanuel in recruiting Democratic House candidates from the Southwest and Latino-dominated districts, so she brings to her new job a strong relationship with Obama’s incoming chief-of-staff. Now, she’s in the key position to promote the Employee Free Choice Act, which seems likely to be the most contentious issue on Obama’s agenda. But Solis has never been deterred by controversy.

 From The Plank, The New Republic’s blog, “A Secret Weapon For Obama’s Labor Secretary“:

Solis seems like a good choice for a labor movement that wants to see funding shifted from union oversight programs to efforts like conducting the required number of mine safety inspections, and restarting surveys of workers in vulnerable industries on issues like proper overtime payment. While Solis’s support for labor legislation like EFCA will earn her points in the labor community, Samuels says that shifts within the department, and the appointment of agency heads who are dedicated to the issues, could produce significant changes as well. Having a new labor secretary who knows her way around a red pen, a budget, and management principles could be a promising start.


UPDATE: (5 p.m.): SEIU President Andy Stern gives her a rave review at TPM:

“It’s extraordinary,” SEIU president Andy Stern said in an interview with us a few moments ago. “On every issue that’s important to us, she has stood up for an America where everyone’s hard work is valued and rewarded.”


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