Republicans Won’t Block Obama’s Labor Pick

Posted on April 18, 2013 by

Senate republicans tried but failed to rattle President Obama’s nominee for Secretary of Labor, Thomas Perez, with questions about his tenure as Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights.

But the 51-year-old progressive lawyer and activist deftly deflected charges by GOP Senators on the Labor Committee with his straightforward answers and command of the issues.

Unable to get traction on accusations that Perez improperly intervened in a Supreme Court case over “disproportionate impact,” the GOP has all but given up targeting him as a civil rights “extremist.” (According to Heritage Foundation, “he has a record of selective law enforcement, questionable judgment, and bad management”).

But with bi-partisan immigration reform imminent, republicans wouldn’t dare tarnish their image by singling-out the most prominent Latino nominee of Obama’s second term.

Several progressive advocacy groups have stepped forward to build grass-roots support for Perez.  The American Association of  People with Disabilities, for example, credits him with “clear[ing] the way for more Americans with disabilities to live independently, obtain a quality education, and participate in activities most Americans take for granted.”

The big winner here could be U.S. workers who would have a strong advocate within the administration and an experienced hand – Perez was Maryland’s Labor Secretary before coming to Washington – at the DOL.

Unless republicans are looking for trouble, a vote to recommend confirmation from the Senate Labor Committee is expected soon.

Comments (1)


  1. Richard Slawson says:

    Labor’s need for good information; about their rights, and a myriad of other important educational data, including the backgrounds of those who would represent their real, economic interests and well-being; is vital for their future.

    Supporting fair-minded, qualified and experienced individuals like Thoma Perez is another example of how important it is to have workers’ participation. Working families only have one choice when they are looking for the true impacts that these appointment decisions are in play. This is why Labor needs a coordinated effort to inform workers about who will defend their right to participate.

    Labor Blogs play an important part in information distribution. Others like the AFL-CIO Blog and individual International Unions’ Blogs are the only way workers and their families can ever expect to recieve the truth about how the economy can work for them and even about how democracy and their votes can have an impact an change their living standards through organization.

    But, Labor can’t continue to depend on their own blogs and magazines to be real players in economic and electoral policy.

    Unions must use the national media; television, radio and newspapers to inform the public. That’s why businesses, politicians, religious leaders and government using them every day. They know it works and they are using the media to undermine organize labor at every turn. They tell Labors’ story, true or not, and without a counter they will win the majority of the public’s support.

    Labor needs a “National Advertising Program.” Workers need to fund it themselves through a monthly payment of a dollar or two, or by setting up a ,501(c)(3) dedicated to advertise the Union message and capable of accepting donations from foundations and friendly business interests (along with Union members.

    Naturally, the AFL-CIO is the obvious organization to coordinate the advertising program. Labor can raise over $100,000,000.00 a year if every International would participate.

    Contact your International Union and let them know you support a Labor funded “National Advertising Program.”

    The Truth is Labor’s Message!

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