The announcement of Representative Hilda Solis as President-elect Obama's Secretary of Labor is great news for America's workers. Solis comes from a union family and has never forgotten her roots in her public service career. Her appointment is a win for the prospects of the Employee Free Choice Act and the economic future for the people of this country who get up and go to work every day.
As you can see from the video above, Rep. Solis was a strong advocate for the passage of the Employee Free Choice Act in the House in 2007. But she didn't stop her advocacy when she left the floor of Congress on March 1, 2007. The next day she penned a blog post for Huffington Post explaining why the Employee Free Choice Act is so important for our economy.
Unions are vital to the health and strength of our communities, and our workers are the bedrock of our economy. Unionized workers earn 30 percent more than non-unionized workers, and 80 percent have health insurance, as opposed to just 49 percent of non-union workers. In this day and age when the number of women and new immigrants in the work force is increasing, it is important that they become a part of the American fabric. One of the ways to ensure that these new workers are skilled and valued members of the work force is to join a union.
When union workers earn higher wages to support their families, that income helps to strengthen their community. It helps to provide a vibrant economy. It helps to send their children, like me, a daughter of immigrants and a union household, to college and to eventually run for office. This is the American Dream. We should realize that dream by supporting workers and signing the Employee Free Choice Act into law, and I will continue to champion increased wages, right and protections for working families in the 110th Congress.
While working hard for American families in-session, Rep. Solis has made her progressive views on labor and workers' rights a centerpiece of her campaigns to represent California's 32nd District. Her campaign website included a detailed agenda for how Rep. Solis has fought and will continue to fight for America's workers. Here's just a brief look at how Hilda Solis is defending rights at work:
Hilda staunchly supports strong protections for all employees in their places of work. In Congress, she tirelessly defends the 40-hour work week and overtime pay requirements against the constant attacks by the corporate wing of the Republican Party. She was proud to vote with her Democratic colleagues in the House to pass a federal minimum wage increase for working families in the first 100 hours of the new Democratic majority.
One's place of employment must be a safe and healthy place to work. Hilda supports legislation that strengthens existing standards for working conditions and advocates for additional funding for the U.S. Department of Labor to combat poor working environments.