Anna Burger, chairperson of Change to Win, a partnership of five unions representing American workers, issued the following statement regarding the confirmation of Patricia Smith as the Labor Department’s Solicitor General.
"We applaud the U.S. Senate’s confirmation of Patricia Smith at the Department of Labor’s Solicitor General.
“As Change to Win stated in a letter urging her confirmation, ‘Smith’s longstanding commitment and innovations in the area of wage enforcement and upholding other labor standards make her the ideal candidate for Solicitor at this time. The Department of Labor must have the leadership it needs to give true meaning to the guarantees found in the Fair Labor Standards Act, Civil Rights Act, OSHA, MSHA, Family and Medical Leave Act and other landmark statutes that enable working families to achieve the American dream. And no one in our nation is better qualified by integrity, training, experience, and temperament to lead that effort than Patricia Smith.’
“Patricia Smith was an integral part of Governor Eliot Spitzer's successful team, working to enforce wage protections, bringing justice to law breakers, curbing sweatshop operations and protecting exploited and injured workers. She is a trailblazer and coalition builder who will bring that same dedication she showed in New York, to the U.S. Department of Labor.
"We are confident that as the Solicitor General of the Department of Labor, Smith will take a leadership role in supporting Secretary Hilda Solis and President Barack Obama’s agenda of enforcing wage laws, protecting workers for abuse, and bringing fairness to the judicial process on behalf of America's workers.
“While we celebrate the confirmation of Patricia Smith, we still urge the Senate to confirm several other outstanding candidates for leadership positions including Craig Becker, a candidate for a seat on the National Labor Relations Board. The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee voted yesterday to recommend that the full Senate confirm him to the National Labor Relations Board.
“We urge the Senate to confirm his nomination as quickly as possible. American workers need those in government to fight for their rights and uphold labor laws designed to ensure fairness.”