Solis Is Making the Rounds

catholic-labor21Only been on the job for five days and already ready to tackle shit.

U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis made her first public speech as a member of President Barack Obama’s cabinet at an open meeting with labor unions on Monday and said there’s a new sheriff in town.

The AFL-CIO executive council is having a four-day leadership meeting “and related events” (i.e., town meetings with union members) in Miami, Florida. It began March 2nd and will run until tomorrow, March 5th.  As Dwayne Whitney, president of Local 1416, International Longshoremen’s Association, said:

“What a pleasure and a joy to have a member of the president’s Cabinet come to our union hall and then spend time with workers in Miami…. We’ve been cut out and pushed out for so long.” he said.

Also in attendance, Hilda Solis – newly confirmed Secretary of Labor, and Vice President Joe Biden.  Solis’ plan is to “resuscitate the Labor Department by enforcing laws designed to protect workers, hiring inspectors who will “really do inspections” and strengthening job safety measures.”

As she toured economically devastated Miami neighborhoods, Solis said it’s important she spend her first few days on the job with working families.

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First investigation under current DOL: Under the watch of the Bush Labor Dept, CYVSA International (Calefaccion y Ventilacion SA – Mexico City) was hired to install heating and air conditioning ducts at the St. Regis Hotel project in Florida (Bal Harbour). Winning the contract, the company was able to handed permission, granted by both the Bush Labor Dept AND the state of Florida, to have Mexican workers brought in to perform the work.  Sheet metal workers in Florida were deliberately overlooked, unemployed sheet metal workers – unemployed American sheet metal workers.

The process the company undertook to inform ‘the public’ of the job openings was deliberate in its deceitfulness.  CBS4 reporter Jim DeFede has a page dedicated to his investigation along with more video (on the right).  From the AFL-CIO blog:

In one of her first official acts as labor secretary, Hilda Solis has asked for a review of how Mexican sheet metal workers were given visas to work on the St. Regis Hotel project in Bal Harbour, Fla., when more than 1,000 members of the Sheet Metal Workers union (SMWIA) are out of work in the same area.

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