The Blog of the Frances Perkins Center

Posts Tagged ‘secretary of labor’

Solis vote today at 2:00?

In Biography, Political world on February 12, 2009 at 8:25 am

Secretary of Labor-nominee Rep. Hilda Solis cleared the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions late yesterday (hooray!) and may come up for confirmation today. Says blogger Meteor Blades of DailyKos:

Many observers have compared Solis with the first woman who ever served in a U.S. Cabinet, Frances Perkins, the liberal Labor Secretary in Franklin Roosevelt’s administration. Perkins is often credited with having pushed FDR to the left on many issues.

There’s some concern that an anonymous Republican senator could still put a hold on Solis’s nomination. Or that the Republicans could filibuster it. But in reality, both of these tactics are dead ends — the Obama administration favors passing the Employee Free Choice Act and ANYONE they nominate will also support it. At some point, the anti-unionists will have to admit defeat.

NOTE: The Frances Perkins Center is waiting to finalize a date for an event at the Department of Labor honoring Secretary Perkins’s contributions to workers’ lives until the Senate confirms a new secretary of labor. We’re hopeful about that 2:00 PM vote!

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Hilda Solis to be next Secretary of Labor?

In Political world on December 18, 2008 at 7:57 pm

Two Bloomberg reporters, Kim Chipman and Julianna Goldman, are reporting that President-Elect Obama’s pick for Labor Secretary is Representative Hilda Solis.

California Representative Hilda Solis

California Representative Hilda Solis

Solis, 51, is a four-term member of Congress with an extensive record on environmental issues. Her legislative accomplishments include spearheading a bill to provide workers with training for “green-collar” employment. Such initiatives are a hallmark of Obama’s plan to address the country’s energy needs and create new jobs.

Obama has promised to press an ambitious labor agenda to strengthen unions, protect jobs and bolster the middle class. The president-elect is set to announce the Solis appointment tomorrow in Chicago, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Solis, who grew up in a union household in Los Angeles County, is a favorite of labor groups, including the Service Employees International Union.

“We’re thrilled,” said SEIU President Andy Stern, who canvassed door-to-door with Solis when she first ran as a state senator. “She’s been as strong a voice for justice for SEIU workers like our janitors and homecare workers as we’ve ever had.”

Who will be the next secretary of labor?

In Political world on December 3, 2008 at 1:47 pm

While President-Elect Obama has named a number of cabinet secretaries with alacrity, the post of labor secretary still is open. Rumors are swirling around several prospects: Governor Jennifer Grandholm of Michigan, who says she’s not being vetted; Governor Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas; and Mary Beth Maxwell.

Union activist Mary Beth Maxwell

Union activist Mary Beth Maxwell

Mary Beth Maxwell? You may not recognize that name. She’s an openly gay union activist who founded American Rights at Work, a nonprofit advocacy group that promotes efforts to strengthen unions. Check out their list of board members — it’s an all-star group. And she has a great reputation among many labor leaders. Here’s an excerpt from a Wall Street Journal article about her from yesterday:

Maxwell already had the strong backing of former Rep. David Bonior, who despite repeated attempts to get his name removed from consideration continues to be on the short list of potential labor secretaries. Bonior, 63 years old, says it is time for his generation to turn over power to a new generation, and Maxwell, whose labor-backed organization pushes for expanded collective bargaining rights, is his pick.

Some labor leaders from both the AFL-CIO and Change to Win, a splinter union group led by the Service Employees International Union, back her as a consensus choice, citing her efforts on behalf of legislation to allow unionization at workplaces with the signing of cards, not secret balloting.

Since Frances Perkins’s day, there have been many women secretaries of labor — from both parties. But to pick someone who’s an open union activist — now that would be a breath of fresh air.

If you read the WSJ article, be sure to catch the posted comments.