February 25th, 2009
11:41 AM ET
6 years ago

Labor Department greets new leader

Hilda Solis was recently confirmed as secretary of labor.
Hilda Solis was recently confirmed as secretary of labor.

(CNN) - Hilda Solis, recently confirmed as secretary of labor, was greeted Wednesday by a crowd of enthusiastic Labor Department employees who braved the cold to greet their new boss on her first day of work.

Solis was greeted as she stepped out of her car by interim acting Secretary of Labor Edward C. Hugler. She shook hands and signed autographs before addressing the crowd.

"As someone who came into this town eight years ago, I can't begin to tell you how incredibly emotional, happy, ... fired up and ready to go [I am] to get our country back to where it needs to be," she said.

Noting the difficult road ahead, she added, "We need to revitalize this agency and we will. We are going to be working and, like the president said yesterday, we are not quitters."

The Senate voted 80-17 Tuesday to confirm the four-term California congresswoman as the Obama administration's labor secretary.

Consideration of the nomination had been briefly delayed as senators reviewed a possible tax controversy surrounding Solis' husband, but the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee supported the nomination
earlier this month.

She takes over a Cabinet agency responsible for enforcing labor laws and managing unemployment insurance at a time when the U.S. unemployment rate stands at 7.6 percent.

"She's a forceful advocate for working families and will bring to the job a genuine understanding and a passion for the issues that affect families so deeply," Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Connecticut, said Tuesday.


Filed under: Hilda Solis
soundoff (64 Responses)
  1. Mel of Alexandria, Virginia

    Yes, we do need a forceful advocate for working families and for trade unions. Ever since Pres. Reagan big business and capital have been elevated far above labor and the people's right to organize. However, please keep the unions in check so that there will be a working relationship that benefits both.

    February 25, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  2. Bill

    Finally- someone who runs the Department of Labor that actually cares about actual labor issues (quite a concept !!)

    February 25, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  3. Ray Fisher

    Can she stop the outsourcing of our jobs or simply open our borders to illegals instead??? Inquiring minds want to know!!!

    February 25, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  4. Alicia

    Hooray for Ms. Solis. I am sure that anyone who knows of a family member or friend who are hard working people, can understand why the Rethugs were fighting this lady. They do not want free choice on union membership. Amazing whether education money that they bargained to get 'out' of the stimulus and this as well. How are they going to get hard working people to think they care about them?

    Maybe Jindal, the male Palin version, will convince people to go Rethug.

    February 25, 2009 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  5. Independent_me

    Hopefully, Solis will remind America why we need labor unions. It is because of Labor Unions representing the average worker that companies pay higher wages and offer insurance and retirement benefits – even if the company is non-union.

    It is because of Unions that we have labor laws, workplace safety laws, hour and wage laws. Before the Unions, child labor was a fact of life; people worked ungodly hours for very little pay, and death in the workplace was common. Most Americans take the protections that they have for granted, but workers in both unionized and non-unionized workplaces owe the minimum wage, their benefits and workplace safety to Unions. Today we need the Unions more than ever.

    February 25, 2009 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  6. Al

    This a refreshing act of this administration. At least a real diverse cabinet. The Hispanic population is the largest and fast growing demographic in the USA. There are more Latinos in the US thant in Canada and yet, we have almost no representation in the Senate, hose of Representatives and in previous administration.
    Solis is the right pick due to the fact that understands the struggles that low income workers expericence in the Agricultural field of California and Florida, the beef, poiltry industry and construction.
    It's also nice to see Ken Salazar incharge of the Department of Energy.

    Bravo, Obama!

    February 25, 2009 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  7. J.P.

    First on the agenda: restricting the freedom of business owners to manage their own businesses, by mandating union formation in any and all businesses immediately.

    We don't care if you risked your entire life's savings to launch YOUR business and you work 80 hours a week to keep your business afloat... we are the government and we think you're not 'sharing' enough, so we're mandating unions in all businesses."

    Next on the agenda: bask in the non-existent glow of an Havana-like economy.

    February 25, 2009 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  8. Ken

    All I can say is that I better not hear her start talking about giving the 12 to 20 million ILLEGAL ALIENS AMNESTY!

    We FIRST must get our legal citizens back to work and if that means taking back our jobs that the ILLEGAL ALIENS have taken from us, so be it!

    We also need to STOP PAYING to support the ILLEGAL ALIENS!

    February 25, 2009 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  9. Obama Victim

    wish we could get a "do-over" for President.............is it 2012 yet??

    February 25, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  10. Andy J, Upstate NY

    I noticed this article failed to include the fact that

    HILDA SOLIS SUPPORTS EFFORTS TO TAKE AWAY THE RIGHT OF WORKERS TO HAVE A SECRET BALLOT VOTE.

    let me say that again.

    HILDA SOLIS SUPPORTS EFFORTS TO TAKE AWAY THE RIGHT OF WORKERS TO HAVE A SECRET BALLOT VOTE.

    but we all know the unions would never intimidate people....

    check the stats for union vs. non union states. non union states crush union states when it comes to economic growth.

    February 25, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  11. Betty

    Real change...or just more of the same? This administration hasn't proven anything to me yet. Well, except that they like to be in front of the cameras and feed lines to the public.

    February 25, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  12. Frostlanta

    I need everyone to go to twentyfivedollarbill.com so we can get Barak Obama on the twenty five dollar bill.

    February 25, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  13. worriedmom

    Here we go with unions and illegal immigrants being granted ammensty. Let's put her on the border with our men and women who are being shot at and see reality! you can see where this country is going!

    February 25, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  14. flybyshoeing

    Confirmed 80-17. I wonder if Chris Wallace will claim she made it by the "skin of her teeth" like he said about Eric Holder on Sunday. Holder was confirment 75-21. I guess Wallace has some pretty thick skin on "his" teeth.

    February 25, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  15. keith in california

    Nice to see Elaine Chao is gone. Perhaps we will see the end of high turnover in the Labor Dept., and the end of Cabinet members campaigning for their party on the taxpayer's dime.

    February 25, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  16. N D pin dent

    Welcome Hilda, I work in HR and I can say you've got people running scared around here–to me that's a good thing. Plus it keeps me gainfully employed in this tough job market. So you have already save one job–mine

    February 25, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  17. ray ray

    "She shook hands and signed autographs before addressing the crowd."

    WHO are the unemployed numbnuts on site cheering this tax-cheat and asking for her autograph?? Really... I'd like to know, CNN.

    February 25, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  18. Food for digesting

    A boat carrying over 200 would be illegal migrants was recently intercepted somewhere near Florida (as usual). Lives are being endangered and exorbitant sums are being paid to traffickers who are transporting hapless people – in unseaworthy vessels – to a country which is in economic crisis right now.

    Coast Guard interceptions, border patrol, processing, detention, repatriation and related costs are hitting the US in the pocket. Has anyone given serious thought to this and what can be done to alleviate the plight of the less fortunate while securing America and its jobs?

    February 25, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  19. Nick A

    Grow up Ken. The illegal alien fear mongering lost the last election. We need to focus on making labor the focus of the labor department, and not immigration. Like it or not, these people are here to stay, you can hide your head in the sand if you choose.

    February 25, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  20. obama-mama

    Welcome Hilda. Good luck.

    February 25, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  21. Greedy CEOs of America

    I cant beleive they put her over the dept of labor! what this country needs is an advocate for bif business heading the dept of labor, one that will lower the minimum wage to 2 dollars an hour and do away with all benefits.

    February 25, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  22. texas teacher

    I am proud that Obama is getting on the ground running just as he promised! I'm proud of the fact that he has done more to help the average wo/man in a month than Bush did in 8 years! Face up, Repubs.... you lost and for good reason.... better think of that as you just keep putting your foot in your mouth.... then biting the darned thing off! Get out of the way and let someone who can correct the MESS YOU MADE!

    February 25, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  23. Nobama

    Her first order of business: Take away private voting for union members.

    Obama owes the mobbed-up union leadership big-time and will act quickly to strike down ANY privacy rights for member voting.

    YOU HEARD IT HERE FIRST!!

    February 25, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  24. Sniffit

    @ J.P.

    Where do you guys come up with this stuff anyway? Is there a "think tank" in someone's basement generating this dribble while conducting a modern day electric koolaid acid test?

    February 25, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  25. LIP

    A labor advocate would not be my first choice, nor would it be my last.
    It is truly unbelievable that a country that has shipped most of its jobs abroad, would put into office, someone who advocates more labor unions. Labor unions served a purpose back when people of all colors were exploited, but now that most all the jobs are gone, due to our high labor costs, it would seem that we need to travel a different road or at least explore uncharted territory in pursuit of a different solution.

    February 25, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
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