Labor Secretary Solis Speaks to the NAM

Today the National Association of Manufacturers heard from its first member of the Obama Cabinet as Labor Secretary Hilda Solis addressed the morning session of the NAM Manufacturing Summit. The Administration has been quite good on keeping lines of communication open with the NAM, and certainly our members — some 200+ manufacturers in the room — appreciated her speaking.

Secretary Solis thanked the NAM for its support for the President’s stimulus bill, quickly highlighted the serious state of the economy, and endorsed programs to help train and retrain workers, especially in the area of green jobs and health care.

A few quotes, first on the recession…

I know we all carry this along us, because this is a crisis that affects everybody. But we can get out of it. I am assured that this is just one down payment, the stimulus, it won’t last long. But we have to produce something, and I know that many of us who are working in the Administration are going to want to see that there is some output, there’s some good results, there’s accountability, transparency, and that we partner with different parts of the country, so we really spread the resources around regionally.

We interpreted her comment as a general “there’s a lot of work to do,” not the foreshadowing of a second stimulus bill.

And looking forward…

In spite of all the bad news, I really believe the American public knows, as you know, there is going to be change in the next few months. It may not be where we’re going to see the unemployment rate drop dramatically, but you will see new start-up businesses, you will see people getting into back into new homes, and you will see the enthusiasm of the young people…who are looking for the next place to go — that education, that certificate, or that new job.

Secretary Solis did not comment on any issue where the NAM has sharp disagreements with the Administration or that might invite controversy, e.g., the Employee Free Choice Act. She did not take questions.

Sound files…
Part 1
Part 2

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