Friday, May 17, 2013

Teamsters urge Senate to approve Labor Secretary nomination

The U.S. needs a strong advocate for working families like Thomas Perez in the Labor Department if we are to restore the middle class, Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa said today.

Hoffa applauded Perez's approval by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee yesterday.

The Teamsters issued a press statement today about Perez's nomination:
In his post as the assistant attorney general for civil rights, Perez settled the three largest fair lending cases on behalf of working families targeted by unfair mortgage practices. He fought to protect the rights of students to achieve a quality education, increased the enforcement of human trafficking laws and stepped up efforts to protect the civilian jobs of military personnel who are serving our country. He also has been a champion for voting rights. Perez previously served as Maryland’s Labor Secretary. 
Perez is the son of immigrants from the Dominican Republic. When he was 12, his father died of a heart attack and a Teamster became a surrogate father to him. That bond helped create his lifelong support for labor unions. 
“We have watched the middle class get the short end of the stick for too long,” Hoffa said.
The Washington Post reported Perez's nomination could be held up by the usual partisan gridlock:
At stake is the role of a Cabinet member who would enforce labor laws and potentially write certain immigration rules, depending on what happens with the ongoing negotiations over immigration reform. 
Perez has turned out to be Obama’s most controversial second-term Cabinet pick since the president tapped former Republican senator Chuck Hagel to run the Pentagon.... 
As for Perez, his nomination has drawn vastly different reactions from Democrats and Republicans. Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), who chairs the Senate committee that oversees Labor, described Perez last week as “eminently qualified” for a Cabinet post, while Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell described him as a “committed ideologue” who ignores the law and misstates facts to push a progressive agenda. 
Latino groups have cautioned Republicans against opposing Perez’s nomination, suggesting it could have grave consequences for the party trying to gain favor with a growing electorate that overwhelmingly supported Obama in the last election.
Stay tuned.