No immediate effects expected because of Solis resignation

January 10, 2013 0 COMMENTS

U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis announced on January 9 she will step down, but no signs of immediate change to U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) policy or pending audits are apparent.

President Barack Obama praised Solis’ term as DOL leader but named no possible successor. “Over her long career in public service—as an advocate for environmental justice in California, state legislator, member of Congress and secretary of Labor—Hilda Solis has been a tireless champion for working families,” Obama said.

Solis sent a letter to employees at the DOL in which she said: “After much discussion with family and close friends, I have decided to begin a new future and return to the people and places I love and that have inspired and shaped my life.”

read more…

Solis, Ledbetter Promote Paycheck Fairness Act in DOL Webcast

September 21, 2010 4 COMMENTS

This morning, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis hosted a live webcast promoting the passage of and fielding audience questions about the Paycheck Fairness Act (PFA).

The webcast, which featured Lilly Ledbetter as cohost, emphasized the current administration’s efforts to eliminate wage discrimination while promoting wage transparency in the workplace, noting that passage of the PFA is now the next in a long series of steps toward wage equality.

The PFA would amend the Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA) in numerous ways, including: read more…

Solis, Trumka Push for Comprehensive Immigration Reform

July 19, 2010 4 COMMENTS

Today the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) hosted a live webcast interview with Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. During the webcast, both parties made the case for the necessity of comprehensive immigration reform, decrying individual state movements such as the controversial immigration law in Arizona as a means for racial profiling and shifting blame for economic failures onto undocumented workers.

Trumka outlined the AFL-CIO’s proposed five-point approach, which he noted is the first position to receive unanimous support from every member union of the AFL-CIO. The five points are (1) a mechanism to let current undocumented workers gain legal status, (2) an independent commission to monitor labor shortages, preventing immigration from being a way to drive down wages for the rest of the American people, (3) reasonable border enforcement, (4) strict employer compliance, which includes issuance of some form of tamperproof identification, and (5) putting an eventual end to guest-worker programs.

read more…

Wage War: DOL Launches Aggressive “We Can Help” Enforcement Outreach

April 07, 2010 0 COMMENTS

The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) has fired a loud warning shot to employers in its ongoing effort to increase federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) enforcement. In a news release late last year, U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis first unveiled plans for a proposed program to work with advocacy groups and other stakeholders to inform workers of their labor rights. However, We Can Help, which was officially launched last week, represents a very active effort on the WHD’s part to reach out to employees for their help in cracking down on suspected wage violations.

The We Can Help website presents employees who think they aren’t “being paid right” with a nothing-to-lose wage complaint scenario, encouraging them to take advantage of a toll-free information hot line, complainant confidentiality, and protection for undocumented immigrant workers. Employers defending against the complaints, however, aren’t afforded similar luxuries and may face significant loss of time, money, and resources on the program’s effort to solicit (potentially frivolous) claims.

read more…

Labor Department Changing Farm Worker Rules

February 12, 2010 0 COMMENTS

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has published new rules for the H-2A Guest Worker Program that have sparked protest from agricultural employers.

The new rules, to go into effect March 15, were published in the February 12 edition of the Federal Register. The final rules govern the labor certification process and enforcement mechanisms for the H-2A temporary agricultural worker program. The DOL said the rules are aimed at strengthening worker protections for both U.S. and foreign workers, but employers say the change means higher costs and a process so time-consuming they may not be able to hire enough labor to harvest their crops.

read more…

DOL Hires 250 New Wage and Hour Investigators

November 20, 2009 0 COMMENTS

If a recent news release from U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis is any indication, 2010 may prove to be a year of ramped-up enforcement from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). In her November 19 statement, Secretary Solis sent a clear message about the enforcement and outreach efforts occurring within the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD), announcing the recent hire of an additional 250 wage and hour investigators as well as plans for a public awareness campaign on worker rights, expected to launch in 2010.

The hiring effort at the WHD represents a staff increase of more than one-third, a move that will significantly improve the DOL’s top priority of protecting worker rights by allowing prompter response to complaints of wage violations and more targeted enforcement. Solis’ message is clear: “Failure to comply with these basic labor standards means that workers are not receiving the money they have earned,” and the department “will not rest until the law is followed by every employer, and each worker is treated and compensated fairly.”

read more…

OSHA Going for Record Fine Against BP

October 30, 2009 0 COMMENTS

Signals that the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is ramping up enforcement became clearer with the levying of a record $87,430,000 proposed penalty against BP Products North America Inc. on October 30.

The previous largest penalty, $21 million, was issued in 2005, also against BP, according to OSHA.

read more…