Senate approves Solis as Labor Department secretary, 'card-check' debate heats up

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Hilda Solis accepts keys to her new office from Ed Hugler. Photo: Shawn Moore, Dept. of Labor.
Hilda Solis accepts keys to her new office from Ed Hugler. Photo: Shawn Moore, Dept. of Labor.
After months of delay, the Senate Tuesday approved Rep. Hilda Solis (D-CA) for the job of secretary of the Labor Department. The move is likely to intensify the controversy over the "card-check" issue.

Solis, in part because of her pro-union positions, drew concerns from Republicans during the confirmation process. Many in the Senate also took issue with her husband's outstanding and unresolved tax issues.

Ironically, coinciding with her confirmation, Republican lawmakers introduced the Secret Ballot Protection Act, which would preserve the requirement of a secret ballot in union organizing elections. The well-known Employee Free Choice Act of 2007, which is expected to be reintroduced in the new Congress, would amend the National Labor Relations Act to require employers to recognize a labor union solely through the "card-check" process. The issue has provoked strong opinions from the business and labor community. Nursing home providers are worried that approval of "card check" will increase the presence of unions within the nation's nursing homes.

The previous Labor Secretary, Elaine Chao, held a more pro-business view than Solis. AFL-CIO President John Sweeney said Americans now "have a secretary of labor who represents working people, not wealthy CEOs," The Boston Globe reported.