Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Next Secretary Of Labor: Hilda Solis

Speculation on Pick for Secretary of Labor Continues...

Breaking: From NBC's Savannah Guthrie NBC News has confirmed that Obama will name California Rep. Hilda Solis (D) to be his Labor secretary.

as President Elect Obama tries to choose a nominees acceptable to business in the United States, and who meets the high expectations of Organized Labor, a key Obama constituency during the election.

President Elect Obama is apparently saving Secretary of Labor as one of his last cabinet posts to fill. Speculation continues to swirl about who his choice for this post will be. Usually the Labor post is not one which draws so much attention, but this year, labor and business are both watching possible selections with equal amounts of avarice and apprehension.

According to Fox News, the two primary candidates to fill the Labor job seem to be Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, and Mary Beth Maxwell, head of the American Rights at Work organization. Howard Dean is also interested in the position, but doesn't seem to be favored by Obama.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Representative Rose DeLauro of Connecticut, and Dr. Harley Shaiken, a labor professor from Berkley are also contenders for the cabinet post.

Blogs on the Wall Street Journal are reporting that Shaiken seems to be the favorite compromise candidate, palatable to both sides.

Harley Shaiken, a prominent expert on unions, Detroit and the U.S.-Mexican
border, has emerged as a top candidate for the post of secretary of labor,
officials familiar with the vetting process say.

The post is one of the last to be filled by President-elect Barack
Obama, and is proving to be particularly difficult. Early candidates, such as
former Rep. David Bonior and Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, have faded, either
because they asked not to be considered or ran into other problems. Bonior has
championed labor activist Mary Beth Maxwell, who would be the first openly gay
cabinet member in history.

But Shaiken has emerged as a candidate with strong backing from unions
and high praise from corporate officials, according to people familiar with the
selection process. His expertise dovetails with issues high on the Obama labor
agenda. He gained prominence as an expert on labor-management relations in the
auto industry. As director of the Center for Latin American Studies at the
University of California, Berkeley, Shaiken has focused on the impact of
globalization on the work force, especially on the U.S.-Mexican border.

The Labor post appointment will send strong signals to big labor and big business about what direction the Obama White House will move in the short term. Labor wants Obama to prioritize passage of the Employee Free Choice Act, and other key legislation. Business leaders are strongly opposed to such sweeping changes, especially during this weak economic period.

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