Monday, January 5, 2009

Responses Round-Up to Labor Secretary Announcement

By Ben Trott

As remarked in an earlier post, initial left/liberal/progressive responses to the announcement on December 18 of Hilda Solis as Obama's designate for Labor Secretary have generally been extremely enthusiastic. Here is a little round up...

John Nichols has a piece on the Nation website singing her praises here. On, Van Jones, the Executive Director of the Ella Baker Centre for Human Rights, described the pick as 'great' and a demonstration of Obama's commitment to the creation of 'green jobs'. Johnathan Tasini, Executive Director of the Labor Research Association, said,
'I think it's a great pick. Solis is 100 percent in labor's camp, and she won't need training wheels to get up-to-speed. What we don't know yet is how big a voice she will have when it comes to going toe-to-toe with the Commerce, Treasury and other Administration voices for business. And a lot will depend on who she brings in below her to actually run the show...'
All the major trade unions seem to be very pleased. There is a celebratory statement by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), posted to the organisation's blog here. Chair of the Change to Win federation of unions, Anna Burger, released the following statement,
'Change to Win and its affiliated unions would welcome the appointment of Congresswoman Hilda Solis as Secretary of Labor, and would be excited to work with her to help restore the economy, rebuild the middle class and renew the American Dream. She would make the Labor Department an agency that once again protects and promotes the well-being of America’s working men and women. President-elect Obama promised to make government work for working Americans and the appointment of Hilda Solis would make that promise real.

'Solis has a life-long record as an advocate and activist for the cause and concerns of working Americans. She has fought to provide working families with a safe workplace, a healthy environment, a decent standard of living, affordable health care and equal opportunity. Congresswoman Solis does not just vote on behalf of workers, she is their unwavering and tireless voice. She has one of the strongest pro-worker voting records in Congress and is a sponsor of the Employee Free Choice Act.

'She has never forgotten where she comes from, and how she got to where she is today.

'As she said in support of the Employee Free Choice Act:

'"When union workers earn higher wages to support their families...It helps to provide a vibrant economy. It helps send their children, like me, a daughter of immigrants and a union household to college and eventually run for office. This is the American dream, and we should help realize that dream by supporting workers."'
John Sweeney, President of the AFL-CIO, expressed similar enthusiasm, according to the union's blog. The AFL-CIO piece also cites Carl Pope, President of the environmental NGO the Sierra Club as saying,
'We can think of no better person to help President-elect Obama implement his plans for an economic recovery fueled by the creation of millions of new green jobs. Hilda Solis also understands that green jobs must also be good jobs and has worked to make sure that the clean-energy economy is one that lifts up all workers.'

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