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Stunned By The Silence of Our Secretary of Labor

I am actually ecstatic that President Obama has been elected for a second term but I am perplexed at the silence of his entire cabinet. Especially the Labor Department headed, up by Hilda Solis. When I ask fellow union members who heads up the Department of Labor, I get a blank stare. Nobody knows. Here we are in the fight of our lives to preserve unions and in most of the fights from Wisconsin to Michigan to New Hampshire the Labor Department has been absolutely silent.

Sec. of Labor
Hilda Solis

From the Right to work fights to the anti-labor stance taken by Hostess and the possible layoff of 25,000 letter carriers due to the implementation of five day delivery by the Postal Service you hear nothing from the Labor Department. That is very troubling to workers. The Labor department is supposed to be our advocates. In 2009 after a very hard confirmation I remember being in a meeting with Secretary Solis and she stated “there’s a new sheriff in town, and she’s on the side of Labor”. So where has she been?
They didn’t weigh in on the crippling shipping strike in California nor have they said anything about the 11,000 workers about to be laid off by Citi Group. It’s astonishing that they are so silent on all these potential job losses. What are they there for but to be on the side of workers? There just seems to be a disconnect.

We finally get a Secretary who actually has a history in the Labor movement, not management, and she has a standoff attitude. She should be at the front of the picket line! Maybe I just don’t understand what the Department of Labor is all about. I’m pretty sure their mission statement is “To foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights”.

She then should be supporting Wal-Mart workers and issuing strong statements against the company that locked up those garment workers in that factory that 112 were killed in Bangladesh. Aren’t incidences like that that triggered the union movement in this country? Remember the Triangle Waistcoat Factory fire in Washington Square in Manhattan in 1910!

It’s like the entire Obama Cabinet is invisible. You never hear from any of them. What is going on? Have they been given a gag order? Anyway, that’s my rant for the week. Have a happy holiday.



About Wayne Alterisio

Wayne has been an activist for over 40 years. He started by protesting the Vietnam War in the early 70's. He also worked with the NH Peoples Alliance since the late 70's. Wayne is currently the President of the NH State Association of Letter Carriers. As a member of the National Association of Letter Carriers, Wayne has held many positions including: VP NH AFL-CIO Dist.6 Manchester, President Nashua Branch 230, CD-1 State Legislative Liaison, Sec/Treas. Nashua Central Labor Council, Chief Steward, and Secretary and Editor Branch Newsletter, Nashua Br.230. Wayne has worked with the NH AFL-CIO on the last five election cycles. Follow Wayne on Twitter @WayneAlterisio Statements by Wayne on the NHLN are not official statements from the NALC or NHALC unless stated as such.
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