During the Senate sessions while Cabinet nominees were being vetted, you did not hear facts about the nominees like these. The Department of Labor deals with occupational safety, wage and hour stands, unemployment insurance benefits, re-employment services, and some economic statistics.
You would think that our Senators would ensure that this Cabinet position was filled with someone experienced in capitalistic forms of developing the labor force, and initiating policies which would support capitalism.
She would not answer hard questions (see link for story) during the confirmation about her feelings on "Card Check," the means by which workers would not longer be able to cast secret ballots on union organization.
The article is followed by a complete list of references.
Hilda L. Solis
Hilda Solis (born October 20, 1957 in Los Angeles, California) is the current U.S. Secretary of Department of Labor. Before this she served in the United States House of Representatives from 2001 to 2009 for California. She is married to Sam Sayyad, a small business owner.
Hilda Solis was born on October 20, 1957 in Los Angeles, California. She is the daughter of Mexican and Nicaraguan immigrants, Raul Solis and Juana Barela-Solis. Her father, Raul, is a Mexican union shop steward and her mother, Juana, is a Nicaraguan assembly line worker. Solis has stated that her parents and six siblings continue to be a great source of inspiration to her.
In 1979, Solis earned a Bachelor Degree from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona . In 1981, Hilda Solis earned a Master of Public Administration from the University of Southern California . During the President Jimmy Carter Administration, Solis worked in the White House Office of Hispanic Affairs as an intern. Solis was later appointed as a Management Analyst with the Office of Management and Budget in the Civil Rights Division.
Solis served in the California State Assembly from 1992 to 1994 and made history by becoming the first Hispanic woman elected to the California State Senate (1994-2000). In 2003 Solis became the first Hispanic woman to serve on the powerful House Committee on Energy and Commerce, she served as Vice Chair of the Environment and Hazardous Materials (EHM) Subcommittee and a member of the Health and Telecommunications subcommittees. Solis also served on the House Committee on Natural Resources.
Greetings to the Communist Party
In June 1996 the Communist Party USA paper People's Weekly World held a tribute event in Los Angeles for unionists Jerry Acosta and Gil Cedillo.
The Southern California Friends of the People's Weekly World tribute to two of Los Angeles' finest labor leaders, Jerry Acosta and Gilbert Cedillo, became a dynamic rally of elected officials, activists, labor and community leaders in solidarity with labor struggles and in the fight to defeat the ultra-right in November...
"The People's Weekly World and all of us in this room feel very strongly about who we honor today," said Evelina Alarcon, chair of the Southern California District and national secretary of the Communist Party USA, one of the emcees of the tribute. "Jerry Acosta and Gilbert Cedillo represent the new fightback vision of the Sweeney, Trumka, Chavez-Thompson leadership in the AFL-CIO. They represent the rank and file that is pushing from the bottom for that new vision!"
According to the World, Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alarcon, brother of Communist Evelina Alarcon, spoke on behalf of the council which adopted a resolution honoring Acosta and Cedillo;
"Gil Cedillo and Jerry Acosta have changed the whole dynamic of what it means to be for the working class and what it means to fight for workers rights. Because of them and other labor leaders, we have seen a resurgence of strength of the least empowered in our country..."
Presentations to the honorees were also made by Clara James, chair of the Community Affairs Commission of the Second Baptist Church, on behalf of Congresswoman Maxine Waters and Antonio Aguilar, on behalf of State Senator Hilda Solis, California's first Latina elected to the State Senate, who, along with labor, led the drive to put a minimum wage increase initiative on the ballot...
Hilda Solis also enjoyed strong union and Communist Party USA backing) when she ran for U.S. Congress in 2000.
In a report submitted to the Communist Party in November 2000 Evelina Alarcon, Vice Chair CPUSA and Chair Southern California District, commented on Hilda Solis's Congressional victory;
The monumental victories which are occurring in Los Angeles electorally and in the workplace are because of the coalition building that the labor movement is doing with the Latino and African American community. In Los Angeles, the Labor Federation not only targeted three congressional districts but it had organized 250 volunteers to help State Senator Hilda Solis win her Congressional seat by turning out the union household and Latino vote...
We in the Party can also be proud because our members were involved in all the targeted electoral efforts...
From April 11 - 14, 2001 Hilda Solis was in Cuba for unspecified purposes. The trip which was funded by the William C. Velasquez Institute, cost $1,214.50.
Democratic Socialists of America conference
An "insurgent" Hilda Solis was a keynote speaker at the 2005 Democratic Socialists of America national conference "Twenty-First Century Socialism" in Los Angeles, with DSA leaders Peter Dreier and Harold Meyerson.
Saturday evening delegates recognized the contributions of DSA vice chair andWashington Postcolumnist Harold Meyerson, Occidental College sociologist and longtime DSAer Peter Dreier and insurgent California Congress member Hilda Solis (D) who in turn provided in-depth perspectives of the political scene.
Other speakers included ACORN chief organizer Wade Rathke, Kent Wong of the UCLA Labor Center and Roxana Tynan of the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy.
"Progressive" Los Angeles
Leading Los Angeles DSA leader Peter Dreier wrote in DSA's Democratic Left, Winter 2006on the "progessive" networks around Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Hilda Solis;
Antonio Villaraigosa....He was a union organizer. He was the head of the ACLU. He came out the barrio and grew up very poor. His father was an alcoholic, beat his mother—he overcame incredible obstacles. He dropped out of high school, and went back and then graduated from UCLA. He worked his way up through the labor movement and then was elected to the state legislature, becoming Speaker of the Assembly.
When he was term-limited out of the legislature he ran for the LA City Council and was elected. When he ran for Mayor the first time in 2001 he lost, but he ran again and won in 2005. Now we have a progressive mayor, thanks in large part to this impressive network of grassroots organizations, labor unions and community and environmental organizations. Many of them have lifted up some of their leaders into positions of electoral power. It’s a network of activists that work closely with elected officials, like Congresswoman Hilda Solis, and it’s just remarkable what L.A. has become.
Second Cuba Trip
From Dec. 15 - Dec. 18, 2006, a Congressional Delegation of ten congressmen and women from the U.S. House of Representatives visited Havana, Cuba. Leading the delegation were Jeff Flake and Bill Delahunt. The other participants were Hilda Solis, Jo Ann Emerson, Jerry Moran, Michael Conaway, Jane Harman, Lincoln Davis, Gregory Meeks and Jim McGovern. The delegation met with Cuban Foreign Minister, Felipe Perez Roque and other communist officials. The delegation asked to meet with Raul Castro during their weekend visit to Cuba, but there was no word on whether such a meeting would take place.
Hilda Solis also has indirect ties to the Socialist International. In June 2008 the SI Migrations Committeeheld a Migrations Reform, Integration, Rights forum in Los Angeles.
Democratic Socialists of America, the SI's main U.S. affiliate was represented by DSA National Director Frank Llewellyn plus Duane Campbell and Dolores Delgado Campbell of DSA's Anti Racism network and the Latino networks.
California State Senator Gil Cedillo, was also in attendance.
Hilda Solis was formally represented by Elena Henry, a caseworker from Solis's East Los Angeles Office.
Supporting Hillary Clinton
In 2007 Hilda Solis, endorsed Sen. Hillary Clinton for president and signed on to co-chair of the Clinton campaign’s Environmental and Energy Task Force and co-chair of the National Hispanic Leadership Council.
Solis was joined by her friend and Democratic Socialists of America honorary chair, Dolores Huerta-Solis and Huerta had the honour of formally nominating Hillary Clinton for the Democratic primary.
Together Huerta and Solis campaigned for Clinton through California and Nevada on a tour themed "Juntos Con Hillary, Una Vida Mejor" (Together with Hillary, A Better Life).
Human Rights Council
Solis was elected to be Vice Chair of the Helsinki Commission’s General Committee on Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Questions. She is the only U.S. elected official to serve on this committee.
Obama's Latino Advisory Council
In August 2008 the Obama Campaign announced the formation of its National Latino Advisory Council, highlighting the continued growth of support Senator Obama is receiving in the Latino community nationwide.
According to the campaign, the advisory council is made up of key labor, faith, community leaders, and elected officials from across the country and will serve as an advisory council for the campaign on issues important to the Latino community as well as play an active role reaching out and organizing Latinos in their communities and across the country.
Its members included:
Federico Pena, Chair, National Hispanic Advisory Council, Former Mayor of Denver and Former Secretary of Transportation, National Obama Campaign Co-Chair; Geoconda Arguello-Kline, President, Nevada Culinary Workers Union ; Congressman Xavier Becerra; Adolfo Carrion, Bronx Borough President; Henry Cisneros, Former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development; Bishop Wilfredo De Jesus, Vice President of Social Justice, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference; Congressman Charlie Gonzalez; Congressman Raul Grijalva ; Congressman Luis Gutierrez; Ambassador Luis Lauredo, Former Ambassador to the Organization of American States; Patricia Madrid, Former Attorney General of New Mexico; Eliseo Medina, Executive Vice President, SEIU ; Congresswoman Linda Sanchez; Congresswoman Hilda Solis; and Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez.
Said former Clinton supporter Hilda Solis:
"As the Latino community continues to get to know Senator Obama, it is clear that he is the right candidate for our issues and is the best candidate to deliver the change that America desperately needs... Senator Obama not only understands the struggles and diversity of our community but because of his personal history and background he will stand with us and be a fighter for our issues. I look forward to continuing to work to elect Senator Obama as the next President of the United States."
Inspired by Chavez and Huerta
Hilda Solis claims inspiration from Cesar Chavez of the United Farm Workers and Dolores Huerta of UFW and Democratic Socialists of America. She has tried to get the U.S. Congress to honor both activists.
Congressional Progressive Caucus
Hilda Solis was a long time member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
On November 19 2008 the Congressional Progressive Caucus announced its elected leadership for the 111th Congress:
Raul Grijalva (AZ), co-chair
Lynn Woolsey (CA), co-chair
Diane Watson, Whip
Sheila Jackson-Lee, Vice-Chair Liaison to Black Caucus
Hilda Solis, Vice-Chair Liaison to Women's Caucus
Mazie Hirono, Vice-Chair Liaison to Asian Pacific American Caucus
Dennis Kucinich, Vice-Chair Liaison to LGBT Equality Caucus
American Rights at Work
As at Dec. 18, 2008, Hilda Solis served on the Board of Directors for American Rights at Work. Following Obama's announcement that he had selected Solis as the nation's next Secretary of Labor, American Rights at Work Executive Director Mary Beth Maxwell stated: "Solis... will champion common sense policies like the Employee Free Choice Act to restore balance and create an economy that works for everyone" [Yet, as seen in link above, she refused to answer the question concerning her stance on "card check"]. Chair of the Board, David Bonior, commented: "I’ve worked with [Solis] for years in Congress and she sits on our Board of Directors – she is a terrific leader who I know first hand will work tirelessly on behalf of America’s working families".
Labor/socialists welcome appointment
Hilda Solis' appointment as secretary of labor was welcomed by several key labor and socialist figures including Andy Stern, Anna Burger, Stuart Appelbaum and her colleagues at American Rights at Work, David Bonior, John Sweeney and Mary Beth Maxwell.
According to the Communist Party USA's People's Weekly WorldOne labor source said Solis’ name was put forward by Service Employees President Andrew Stern, whose union -- along with the Change To Win coalition -- endorsed Obama’s presidential candidacy long before the AFL-CIO did. SEIU is the biggest union in CTW.
But leaders ranging from CTW Chair Anna Burger to AFL-CIO President John Sweeney to RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum all welcomed the Solis appointment.
So did former House Minority Whip David Bonior (D-Mich.), now chair of pro-labor American Rights At Work, and ARW Executive Director Mary Beth Maxwell. Both had been on lists circulated for the job...Maxwell. Bonior dropped out of the running to endorse her. Both praised Solis, who sits on the group’s board...
Bonior, citing his work with Solis since she entered Congress in 2001 -- he was there until 2004 -- called her "a terrific leader who I know first-hand will work tirelessly on behalf of America’s working families."
Sweeney said the AFL-CIO is “thrilled at the prospect of having Solis as our nation's next Labor Secretary...The AFL-CIO looks forward to working with Solis as she charts new territory for our nation's working men and women."
Democratic Socialists of America vice chair Harold Meyerson wrote on American Prospect's group blog Tapped;
What does Rep. Hilda Solis, Barack Obama’s selection for secretary of labor, bring to the job? Only a record of passionate commitment to working people, a high level of political smarts, and some genuine displays of raw guts that could make her a star of American liberalism...
In the House, Solis has continued to champion labor causes, immigrants' rights, women’s health and environmental protections. She also worked closely with Rahm Emanuel in recruiting Democratic House candidates from the Southwest and Latino-dominated districts, so she brings to her new job a strong relationship with Obama’s incoming chief-of-staff. Now, she’s in the key position to promote the Employee Free Choice Act, which seems likely to be the most contentious issue on Obama’s agenda. But Solis has never been deterred by controversy.
In January 2009, Solis was nominated by the Obama administration for the position of Secretary in the Department of Labor and confirmed in February 2009. Her official title is "Chairperson of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee". Sen. Ted Kennedy. was in charge of Solis’ confirmation.
Presented Letelier award
On October 15, 2009, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis Presented Domestic Workers United with the Institute for Policy Studies Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Award at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Domestic Workers United is a union for domestic workers, with the vision, "We have a dream that one day, all work will be valued equally". The IPS is a highly influential, but little known source of ideas, guidance and training for the U.S. and international left. It began as a revolutionary think-tank that consistently supported policies that facilitated the foreign policy goals of the Soviet Union and weakened the position of the United States.
Solis received $1000 in lobbying funds from Planned Parenthood in 2008.
Solis has been supported by EMILY's List during her campaigning.