Tag Archives: hilda solis

Department of Labor Suspends Bush Guest Worker Laws

In December, I blogged about the Bush administration’s midnight attack on farm workers that slashed wages and protections, sending many laborers back to the Bracero era. Thankfully, upon being sworn in, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis proposed a suspension of the new laws.

MEXICAN BRACEROS CALIFORNIA

Erik Nicholson, a national vice president of the United Farm Workers, applauded Ms. Solis’s decision, calling the Bush rules “some of the worst setbacks for farm workers in decades.” He added, “They meant worse wages and worse housing conditions for these workers and worse discrimination against American workers.”

Glad to see Ms. Solis is already taking a stand as an advocate for workers’ rights in the new administration.

Urgent ACTION: Confirm Hilda Solis to the Senate!


President Obama hit a homerun when he nominated Hilda Solis as Labor Secretary. Solis will make sure that worker rights and immigrant rights are represented fairly at the top tier of government. But for some conservatives in the Senate, the prospect is too much to handle.  They’re doing all they can to block Rep. Hilda Solis from becoming our next Secretary of Labor simply because she supports the interests of working people.

We need YOUR help to make sure that Solis is confirmed and that immigrants, working families and people of color have an advocate in our government. Her confirmation hearing is TODAY, so right now we need you to SIGN THE PETITION from the SEIU, telling the Senate to CONFIRM SOLIS! More than 10,000 of people have already signed.

Sign the Petition Here!

An Immigrant’s Hope for the Future

Today, the L.A. Times features an article about an immigrant activist and her hopes for the incoming administration. Victoria Vergara is from Southern Mexico and has not only created a life for herself as a U.S. Citizen, but is actively engaged in our country’s political process. From her role as a shop steward in her LA Union, to her participation in immigrant rights rallies, actions and even Obama’s campaign, Vergara exemplifies the Southern California immigrant activist.

And Vergara is confident that the incoming administration – specifically new Labor Secretary Hilda Solis – will not let her (or her immigrant community) down.

solis

“Hilda is a very humble and down-to-earth person,” Vergara told me in Spanish. “I don’t think I’m wrong about her. She’s not a person who will ever turn her back on us.”

When Obama nominated Solis to his Cabinet, it was a deep bow of respect in the direction of Los Angeles and its working people. Obama was acknowledging, albeit indirectly, the power of the Southern California labor movement, a strength that’s been built with the sweat and struggle of immigrant workers like Vergara.

The artcile also quotes Solis:

“My vision of the Department of Labor is rooted in who I am,” Solis said Friday at her Senate confirmation hearing in Washington. “The fact that I’m sitting before you today as a child of an immigrant family, a working family, is proof that in America anything is possible.”

It is with this hopeful tone that we are entering the new administration next week. January 20th will mark a new day for immigrants in this country. As Obama takes office, we move ever closer to the promise of Just and Humane Immigration Reform. Vergara has personally asked Obama to remember immigrants.

It was on behalf of her fellow immigrants that Vergara slipped a note into Obama’s shirt pocket during an October campaign rally in Reno. She was in Nevada working with union activists on his campaign.

“I asked him in Spanish not to forget us immigrants, and to work to get us legalization,” she said. “But I’m sure that note ended up at the dry cleaners.”

Maybe not, I said. She gave a conspiratorial grin and raised her eyebrows at the possibility.

“I’d like to know if he read it,” she said. “I’m going to pray that one day I find out.”

Rep. Hilda Solis is the new Secretary of Labor

solisFrom the National Immigration Forum:

Washington, DC Today, the Associated Press reported that Rep. Hilda Solis (D-CA) is President-elect Obama’s pick to head the Department of Labor.  The following is a statement by Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum, a non-profit, non-partisan advocacy organization in Washington.

Rep. Hilda Solis has been a key leader for immigrants, workers, and comprehensive immigration reform throughout her career and we eagerly welcome the good news that she has been selected as the next Secretary of Labor.  Joining Gov. Janet Napolitano at the Department of Homeland Security, Sen. Hillary Clinton at the State Department, Gov. Bill Richardson at the Department of Commerce, and other key nominees, Rep. Solis is joining a strong team that can work with Congress on behalf of the President to deliver real reform for the American people on the issue of immigration.

In this time of economic insecurity, it is more important than ever that we have stability in our labor market and the conditions by which workers – immigrant and native-born alike – can stand together to win better wages and better jobs.  Restoring the rule of law to our immigration system through comprehensive immigration reform is a key ingredient in defending and extending workers’ rights.

In nominating a leader as skilled and dedicated as Rep. Solis to this important office, President-elect Obama is sending the clear signal that American workers, regardless of their country of birth, are a valued part of America’s future and a top priority for his Administration. 

This is great news. The pieces are truly falling into place for the prospects of comprehensive immigration reform next year. Let’s keep this momentum rolling!