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President-Elect Obama Selects California Congresswoman Hilda Solis as Secretary of Labor

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December 23, 2008

President-Elect Obama formally announced his nomination of Democratic U.S. Representative Hilda Solis of California for Secretary of Labor. Solis, a 51-year-old daughter of a Mexican union shop steward and a Nicaraguan assembly line worker, is the only member of Congress of Central American descent.

Solis is a co-sponsor of the Employee Free Choice Act, legislation that will make it much easier for unions to organize workers. A congressional voting analysis conducted by the AFL-CIO showed that Solis voted with organized labor 100% of the time last year. The AP reports that Solis is expected to advocate greater union influence in the workplace and more "green collar" jobs – those that help promote energy efficiency, through projects such as retrofitting.

Business groups have responded cautiously to Solis' nomination. The Los Angeles Times reports that J.P. Fielder, spokesman for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said, "The business community recognizes that economic growth has happened in a number of non-unionized states. [Solis] has sided with the AFL-CIO in 97% of the votes that she has cast on the Hill."

A Franczek Radelet e-bulletin describing Solis' background, and the reactions of organized labor and business organizations to her nomination, can be found here.

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