January 6, 2009: There is no doubt that President-elect Barack Obama has chosen a labor secretary who could be a transformative force in a long-neglected arena. The question is whether he will let her.
Hilda Solis, a United States representative from Southern California, is the daughter of immigrant parents with union jobs. She has been an unfailing advocate of workers’ rights during eight years in Congress and before that, in California politics.
Ms. Solis has been a leader on traditional workplace issues, like a higher minimum wage and an enhanced right to form unions. She also has helped to expand the labor agenda by sponsoring legislation to create jobs in green technology, and in her support for community health workers and immigration reform.
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