Card Check: Rep. Solis Answers (Deflects) Sen. Hatch’s Question

The most direct exchange on the Employee Free Choice Act we’ve heard in the confirmation hearing of Rep. Hilda Solis (D-CA) for Secretary of Labor. Senator Orrin Hatch, following his opening, asked an excellent question challenging organized labor’s premise for the anti-democratic card check bill:

HATCH: Labor advocates claim that the Employee Free Choice Act-type bill is necessary because unions and employees who want unions cannot get a fair election because employers in a large number of instances engage in unlawful activity during that union’s election campaign, which results in unions losing elections. However, the National labor Relations Board data indicates that in 2007 unions won over 60 percent of contested elections held. Further, based on recently released NLRB data on elections held during the first half of 2008, unions have been winning 66.8 percent of elections. Now, if employer interference is so prevalent, how can unions win such a high percentage of elections? And it’s pretty well been 60 percent or more for as long as I can remember.

Rep. Solis responded with praise of Sen. Hatch’s leadership on education issues and then addressed the Employee Free Choice Act generally, not answering the Senator’s question.

SOLIS: With respect to the Employee Free Choice Act, as you know I have been a sponsor, a cosponsor of that legislation in the House and President-elect Obama has also been supportive. But my priorities if I am confirmed will be first and foremost will be to make sure that we attend to the goals of the Department of Labor, to see that we have fair wages, that there is safety and protection, and hopefully people can aspire to have a good paying job in this country. So that’s the first principle.

The second principle would be that I would like to talk to members of the Senate, because I think that the House of Representatives may either be taking up this bill sooner than perhaps might be cause here, in this house. So I know there’s going to be a lot of discussion and debate, and I look forward to that discussion with you. I have not spoken with the President-elect about this, and I am prepared to work with everyone. But I know that first and foremost if I am confirmed that my priority will be to uphold the goals of the Department of Labor and get this economy going, make sure we have jobs and people trained to fulfill those jobs.

SOP for confirmation hearings. Senator Hatch praised her nomination and said he would be voting for her.

UPDATE Here’s an .mp3 clip of the exchange.

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