Secretary of Labor-designate Hilda L. Solis testifed at her confirmation hearing Friday before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions . She provided the first public glimpse, with few specifics, on four key priorities of her agenda. Her comments on worker safety and health were limited to one broad statement and a follow-up sentence. Here are her priorities:
  1. Expand skills development and job search assistance services in order to increase employment opportunities and earnings potential for workers and provide employers with skilled workers. Promote “green-collar jobs” that will “provide economic security for middle-class families while securing our energy supply and combating climate change.” Ensure that the unemployment system provides adequate income support and job-training opportunities.
  2. Ensure safe, healthy and fair workplaces for American workers by enforcing compliance with employment laws. “Workers should not have to sacrifice their lives or their health to keep their jobs,” said Solis. “Workers need time and flexibility to care for their families and themselves. These are American values. They must be America’s ordinary way of doing business.”
  3. Expand retirement savings to “assure that existing pension plans are secure, and provide retirees and workers with the information they need to make good decisions about how to invest for a future beyond work.”
  4. Assure equal opportunity to every American regardless of race, sex, veteran status, or disability. Provide job training and adjustment assistance to veterans returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan, including those with disabilities.
Solis promised the Senate Committee that although they may not always agree with her, she would “not let those disagreements get in the way of the pursuit of our common goal — a genuine opportunity for every family to achieve the American Dream.”