Hilda Solis Failed Big Labor Bosses

On January 10, 2013, in News Clips, by CLJ

Byron York, Washington Examiner, gives Hilda Solis the farewell she deserves after 4 years of using the Department of Labor to promote froced-dues, union boss mentality in an agency that is supposed to ensure all workers are able to work in freedom.

When Labor Secretary Hilda Solis announced Wednesday that she is leaving the Obama administration, my colleague Philip Klein remarked that President Obama “may as well cut to the chase and nominate Richard Trumka” to replace her.  It was a reasonable idea, given big labor’s influence in the Democratic world.  But the fact is, even AFL-CIO chief Trumka could not have been more loyal to organized labor’s agenda than the departing secretary.  Democratic administrations usually make the Department of Labor a branch office of the AFL-CIO, but none did it with more enthusiasm than Hilda Solis.

“Admittedly, I am a little biased,” Solis admitted, “because…I come from a union household.”  Her father, Solis often told audiences, was a Teamsters shop steward, while her mother belonged to the United Steelworkers union.
Hard as it might be to tell from her statements, it was not Solis’s job as Labor Secretary to represent unions.  The mission of the Labor Department, at least according to the Department itself, is “to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States.” It doesn’t mention unions, which represent a little less than 12 percent of the nation’s workers.  (In the private sector, slightly under seven percent are unionized, while in the public sector, the figure is 37 percent.)

What is notable about her time in office, though, is that organized labor is nowhere near where it hoped it would be after four years of a labor-friendly administration.

. . . what was notable about Solis was not her gender but what happened to organized labor during her time in office.  Unions have suffered setback after setback in the last few years — a trend that seems likely to continue, no matter who Obama picks to replace Solis.  Even Richard Trumka

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