Hilda Solis: Labor’s New Sheriff ?
Posted by defensebaseactcomp on April 1, 2010
After an entire year of asking Hilda Solis to address the ruthless treatment of Injured War Zone Contractors by AIG, CNA, and ACE and being completely ignored, we are having a hard time choking down this story.
We have much to say about being ignored by Hilda Solis and her refusal to acknowledge us or be interviewed regarding the Defense Base Act Workers’ Comp program that her Department of Labor has allowed us to be physically and financially abused by. Sure we fell into this black hole during the Bush Administration but this Administration has allowed the continued financial ruin and denied medical benefits to thousands of American Families and those of our allies. Winning hearts and minds all around the world.
We’ll have something more on this very soon.
For now, here is what she’s done for those in a position to lobby.
Here is an excerpt, you will want to read the full story at
During the Bush years, the Department of Labor became a cautionary tale about what happens when foxes are asked to guard the henhouse. But since California Congresswoman Hilda Solis became labor secretary last winter, she has brought on board a team of lifelong advocates for working people–some of whom come from the ranks of organized labor–and has hired hundreds of new investigators and enforcers.
President Obama calls Solis part of his economic team, but the truth is she’s not part of the daily huddle at the White House with Summers and Geithner and Orszag. She’s tapped instead as a lead voice in the “jobs, jobs, jobs” choir, advocating for Obama’s latest stimulus package. She has tiptoed into the realm of financial regulation, organizing a joint hearing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on the abysmal performance of target date retirement funds during the market crash, and she doles out hundreds of millions of dollars in job training funds, a decent chunk of which she has used to shape policy by channeling it to green industries. But Solis understands that her real influence lies in her power to enforce the nation’s labor laws–the primary mission of the DoL. It’s a role she embraced with relish at her swearing-in, where she announced with a grin, “To those who have for too long abused workers, put them in harm’s way, denied them fair pay, let me be clear: there is a new sheriff in town.”
Indeed, Solis threw her weight around on Capitol Hill when one key deputy, Labor Solicitor Patricia Smith, faced stiff opposition from business lobbies and the GOP. One of Smith’s predecessors as labor solicitor–the nation’s top enforcer of labor laws–was Eugene Scalia, son of the Supreme Court justice. Scalia’s previous claim to fame was his successful campaign to block an ergonomics safety standard, using an industry-supported Astroturf group to question whether repetitive-motion injuries exist at all. As labor solicitor, he invoked the Taft-Hartley Act against West Coast longshoremen locked out by their employer (a former client) and made a habit of undermining his own agency, writing a brief supporting limits on whistleblower protections. After a one-year tour, he landed on the lush payroll of Gibson Dunn, a leading “union avoidance” firm, where he now serves as an expert on “downsizing” when not penning attacks on the Employee Free Choice Act for the Wall Street Journal.