January 9, 2009 The Pump Handle 0Comment

Senator Edward Kennedy’s Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP Committee) held a hearing today to consider the nomination of Hilda Solis to be the nation’s 25 Secretary of Labor.  A webcast replay of the proceedings is available (here), as is a copy of Ms. Solis’ written testimony.  Here are a few highlights from her written remarks:

“The Labor Department just assure that American workers get the pay they have earned working in safe, healthy and fair workplaces.  The Labor Department is charged with assuring compliance with dozens of employment laws.  I believe these laws codify values that are fundamental to our society.  A fair day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay.  Workers should not have to sacrifice their lives or health to keep their jobs.  Workers need time and flexibility to care for their families and themselves.  These are American values.  They must be America’s ordinary way of doing business.”

The Labor Secretary-Designee introduced herself by saying:

“My passion for improving opportunities for middle-class Americans is the product of my life story.  I am one of seven children born in La Puente, a town in the San Gabriel Valley (California).  My mother emigrated from Nicaragua and my father worked as a laborer, farmworker, a railroad worker and a Teamsters shop steward in a battery recycling plant. “

She also noted that her mother help to support the family financially by getting a job at a Mattel toy factory, where she was a member of the United Rubber Workers (now part of the United Steelworkers.)

Ms. Solis concluded:

“If confirmed, I will join the President-elect’s team as a voice for America’s middle-class families and workers.”

The Senate HELP Committee has scheduled an executive session on Wedesday, January 14 to vote on her nomination.

Celeste Monforton, MPH, DrPH worked at the US Dept of Labor from 1991-2001, under Labor Secretaries Lynn Martin, Robert Reich, Alexis Herman and Elaine Chao.

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