According to the Associated Press, President-elect Barack Obama is about to name Rep. Hilda Solis (D-Calif.) as Secretary of Labor. If Rep. Solis’s voting record is any guide to how she plans to run the Department, it is not encouraging — it consistently shows her voting in favor of greater government spending programs favored by organized labor (including the auto maker bailout).
In addition, her apparent closeness to organized labor should be cause for concern. Labor unions, which she should be tasked with overseeing, are among her biggest campaign contributors. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, during the last election cycle, her top four donors — and 14 of her top 21 donors — were labor unions. Her relationships with union leaders are a legitimate topic that Senators should address in her confirmation hearing.
Rep. Solis’s voting record is ranked at:
- 96 percent by the Drum Major Public Policy Institute (a group which bills itelsf as “providing ideas that fuel the progressive movement“);
- 53 (“House Hero”) by the liberal Americans for Democratic Action;
- 2.00 percent (lifetime) by the American Conservative Union; and
- 4 percent, a letter grade of “F,” by the National Taxpayers Union.
So how could it have been worse? If Obama had actually named Mary Beth Maxwell, who heads the pro-union lobby group American Rights at Work, and whose name had been floated prior to today. Maxwell is a professional pro-union advocate whose organization agitates for the kind of labor regulation that has brought the Detroit Big Three (as well as some steel companies and airlines) to their current dire state — hardly what the American economy needs at this time.
So maybe the talk about Maxwell should make us thankful for small favors — very small favors. But American workers should hold on to their wallets just the same. If Rep. Solis’s labor allies were to have their way, more and more workers would be paying compulsory union dues — which then go on to support candidates the union leaders favor.