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Happy Labor Day from Labor Secretary Hilda Solis

Jeremy Sprinkle
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The State of the American Worker

We are very fortunate to now have in Hilda Solis a Secretary of Labor who actually cares about workers and workers' rights. The Congress and the White House get most of the media coverage, but it's the work of the Department of Labor - the rules and regulations, investments and enforcement - that make the most difference in our lives as workers and union members.

DOL Secretary Solis has recorded a special Labor Day message, the State of the American Worker, to speak directly to you about what her Labor Department is doing to create jobs, hold employers accountable, and protect our right to organize and collectively bargain:

A Labor Department we can be proud of

The Obama Labor Department under Secretary Solis has made major accomplishments in the past two years on preserving jobs for middle class families, investing in clean energy, protecting middle class quality of life, and improving access to health care on the job. Click here to view that list of accomplishments.

In the Wage & Hour Division alone, DOL has won big against employers who, in a poor economy, are cheating workers out of the pay they have earned. The DOL has launched a new public service campaign, We Can Help, to promote its services and its aggressive enforcement of wage and hour laws. For example:

A Salt Lake City-based call center, Teleperformance USA, failed to pay overtime to 15,862 of their employees [...] we ensured that these employees were paid the $1.97 million they had been cheated out of by their employer. In New York City, four Queens area food stores failed to pay minimum wage and overtime to 42 employees. We recovered $840,000 [...] for these workers. In Florida, the Wage and Hour Division recovered $868,000 in back wages for 1,065 workers of Central Florida Investments, a timeshare company that failed to pay the minimum wage [...]..

Specific to North Carolina, the DOL under the leadership of Secretary Solis has made major investments in our workforce, including $108.2 million from the Recovery Act, $63 million in Trade Adjustment Assistance, $27.4 million for green jobs, and $133.9 million in other grants. Click here to see how the DOL is investing in North Carolina's workers.

Labor Day 2010 is a chance to reflect on the restoration of the Department of Labor to its rightful place as an advocate for us - not a friend to business, as was the case under the previous administration.