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U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis visits San Francisco. Tuesday, July 24, 2012.  Photo by Jessica Brandi Lifland for the U.S. Department of Labor.U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis speaks at a labor rally at Union Square in downtown San Francisco. Ab
With news that Labor Secretary Hilda Solis is stepping down, many union leaders have released statements on her service.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka:

Labor Secretary Hilda Solis brought urgently needed change to the Department of Labor, putting the U.S. government firmly on the side of working families. Under Secretary Solis, the Labor Department became a place of safety and support for workers. Secretary Solis’s Department of Labor talks tough and acts tough on enforcement, workplace safety, wage and hour violations and so many other vital services. Secretary Solis never lost sight of her own working-class roots, and she always put the values of working families at the center of everything she did.
SEIU President Mary Kay Henry:
Secretary Solis served as a true champion for working people during her tenure as Secretary of Labor. She was an unwavering supporter of workers' rights and is the embodiment of the type of public servant that our country needs. She led the way to expand access to job training programs and fought to get hundreds of thousands of workers' their deserved back pay, among other significant accomplishments.
AFSCME President Lee Saunders:
At a time when powerful, moneyed forces have come together to pursue a virulent, anti-union agenda, she focused the Department of Labor’s attention on putting Americans back to work, making the workplace safer and healthier, and protecting and preserving the rights of union members and working families.
United Farm Workers President Arturo Rodriguez:
As Secretary of Labor, one of the first things she did was to reverse the Bush Administration's last-minute regulation changes to the nation's H2A agricultural guest worker program. The changes made it easier for growers to slash the pay of domestic farm workers, reduce housing benefits and hire imported foreign laborers instead of U.S. field workers. The move ensured that the rights of both foreign guest workers and domestic workers in agriculture were respected.
The UAW, Ironworkers, CWA, and others also have statements honoring Solis.

And more:

  • Tales of a line cook:
    A physical therapist once told me I moved like I was seventy. My knees hurt from standing. My lower back hurts for the same reason. The ropiness in my neck and shoulders culminates under my left shoulder blade in a bundle of pain. From standing so much I have developed thick varicose veins on my left leg that snake around the inside of my knee and down my calf like a river; they end in a floodplain of bruising below my ankle, where there is a perennial scab. After being on my feet for twelve hours my legs and veins become extra swollen and begin to ache. I should mention that I’m only twenty-six. [...]

    To give some perspective, my brother made more money collecting unemployment as an intern architect after he was laid off than I did working full time in a restaurant. I make this comparison because we are both skilled professionals in our respective fields, but because he has a degree and uses his mind as opposed to his body to make a living our society values him more, and he makes more money. I make a subsistence wage, which is supposed to be, but is not really, a living wage. On a subsistence wage I just get by, when I should earn enough to get by and also have something left over to pay for healthcare, to save, and to indulge in something like eating out at a place like the one I work at.

    It's a great piece, but note that there's good reason to believe the author overstates how much restaurant prices would have to rise to improve pay.
  • Now that the election is over, the real battles in the states begin.
  • More than 26,000 postal workers are taking a buyout and early retirement.
  • Ten reasons all workers benefit from fixing the immigration system.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 02:00 PM PST.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions.

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