On Dec. 19, President-elect Barack Obama announced he is nominating United States Congresswoman Hilda Solis, D-Calif., as Secretary of Labor.
“For the past 8 years, the Department of Labor has not lived up to its role either as an advocate for hardworking families or as an arbiter of fairness in relations between labor and management,” said Obama. “That will change when Hilda Solis is Secretary of Labor. Under her leadership, I am confident that the Department of Labor will once again stand up for working families.”
Solis is serving her fourth term in the U.S. House of Representatives, representing the 32nd Congressional District of California. Prior to her election to Congress, Solis served 8 years in the California state legislature. She is a member of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming and the House Committee on Natural Resources.
Solis became the first woman to receive the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award in 2000, when she was recognized for her pioneering work on environmental justice issues in California. In 2003, she became the first Latina appointed to the Committee on Energy and Commerce where she is the Vice Chair of the Environment and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee and a member of the Health and Telecommunications Subcommittees.
In her remarks made after accepting Obama’s nomination to lead the Department of Labor, Solis said she intends to strengthen unions and support every American in the nation’s diverse work force. In addition, she plans to reinvest in work force training, help provide at-risk youth and undeserved communities with sustainable skills and support high-growth industries by training the workers they need.
“This includes promoting green collar jobs,” she said. “These are jobs that will provide economic security for working families while securing our energy supply and combating climate change.”
Solis also emphasizes the need to enforce federal labor laws and strengthen regulations to protect our nation's workers, such as wage and hour laws, and rules regarding overtime pay and pay discrimination.
“Whether it’s creating green jobs that pay well and can’t be outsourced or expanding access to affordable health care or raising the minimum wage in California, Hilda has been a champion of our middle class,” Obama said. “And I know that Hilda will show the same kind of leadership as Secretary of Labor that she showed in California and on the Education and Labor Committee by protecting workers’ rights – from organizing to collective bargaining, from keeping our workplaces safe to making our unions strong.”