The confirmation hearing for President-elect Barack Obama’s Labor Secretary nominee Representative Hilda Solis (D-CA), a leader and fighter for women and people of color, ran smoothly Friday. Republican questioning of Solis focused on union issues, particularly organizing rights. According to the Los Angeles Times, many questions focused on a bill that Solis co-sponsored, the Employee Free Choice Act, which would have made it easier for workers to form unions. Solis reportedly refused to comment on the bill because she could not speak for the incoming administration on the matter because she had not spoken with President-elect Obama about it, according to the New York Times.
In the House, Solis is a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, the Natural Resources Committees, and the House Select Committee of Independence and Global Warming. She is also a former chair of the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues and she authored a record 17 anti-domestic violence laws as a California State Senator.
In her testimony, Solis discussed the current economic crisis and noted that “families are struggling in the face of wage disparities, which significantly impact women of color. A Latina earns on average 57 cents for every dollar that a man earns. An African-American woman earns just 68 cents for every dollar that a man earns. These wage disparities directly contribute to a cycle of poverty and lower retirement savings and Social Security benefits for women throughout their lifetime.”