Coverage of Labor Secretary Hilda Solis’ remarks to the National Association of Manufacturers “Manufacturing Summit” Thursday:
- The Hill, “Solis doesn’t mention union bill at business group breakfast”
- Medill News Service, “Card check union bill too hot for breakfast talk“
Eh. It hardly came as a surprise that Secretary Solis eschewed comment on legislation which the NAM strenuously opposes. There are basically two or three ways you can address an audience with whom you have a fundamental disagreement:
- Go at them aggressively, arguing, “You’re all wrong and here’s why,” or
- Highlight areas of agreement.
Given the White House’s reluctance to put any political muscle behind its support for the Employee Free Choice Act, Secretary Solis’ silence was an understandable and safe course.
To the NAM, Secretary Solis was the first member of the Obama cabinet to address the organization, and she was an appreciated guest. And there is opportunity for continued cooperation and agreement on issues such as workforce training. As NAM President John Engler commented after the Secretary’s remarks (sound file):
Engler: Madame Secreteary, we’re just delighted that you would come and honor us.
One of the points of your remarks reminded me, at the National Association of Manufacturers we have the National Center for the American Workforce. It’s a 10-year-old organization. We think we’re one of the finest repositories of knowledge about workforce in the manufacturing world.
How can we work with you? The White House Domestic Policy Office has called us on occasion, we’ve been talking to them. We want to offer today to work certainly with the department. We see this as very critical. We’d love to work with you on that.
Solis: Absolutely. We need your input, as I said earlier. We have various staff…We’re not fully up to staff, so keep that in mind. Not all of my assistant secretaries have been confirmed. But nevertheless, we continue to move on. We will work with you, we’ll be happy to set up a meeting your folks and have that ongoing dialogue with you.
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