Entries in Hilda Solis (2)


Labor Secretary Hilda Solis’ Swan Song? Mine Safety

Dept of Labor(WASHINGTON) -- Just over a week after her resignation, it appears Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis' final major act will be the toughening of American mine safety rules. Along with Joseph Main, assistant secretary of MSHA (Mine Safety and Health), Solis announced a final action to strengthen the country’s current mine regulations in a phone conference Thursday afternoon.

The final rule revises the Federal Mine Safety Act of 1977 to allow MSHA to issue POV (pattern of violation) notices without first issuing a potential POV notice. It also establishes general criteria to identify mines with patterns of violations and emphasizes mine operators’ responsibility in monitoring their own mine’s compliance with federal regulations.

“There has been recognition by many that the system has been broken, with no mine being placed on POV status until 2011 — 33 years after the law went into effect,” said Main in a statement.

In 2011, MSHA established an online system in which mine owners, miners, and citizens can monitor the safety of particular mines based on POV benchmarks. The final rule will continue to make the online resource available.

Born in Los Angeles, Solis was raised far from the coal mines that are now her concern.

“Mining wasn’t a way of life for me and my family. But that all changed for me on April 5, 2010,” said Solis.

In 2010, an underground explosion at the Upper Big Branch coal mine killed 29 men in Raleigh County, W. Va.  Solis said the new rule will hold mine owners and operators accountable when they disregard federal safety regulations.

“Upper Big Branch impacted the entire mining enterprise — families, communities, and company members,” said Solis.

The final rule’s announcement comes on the same day that the previous Upper Big Branch superintendent, Gary May, was sentenced to nearly two years in prison on a federal conspiracy charge.

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Labor Secretary Hilda Solis Steps Down

Dept of Labor(WASHINGTON) -- Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis has stepped down.

The first Latina to lead a federal agency, Solis joined the Obama administration back in 2009 after representing California in the House of Representatives. She said in a letter to colleagues that she was leaving her post to “begin a new future” by returning to her roots. She calls her departure “one of the most difficult decisions” she has made.

“Growing up in a large Mexican-American family in La Puente, Calif., I never imagined that I would have the opportunity to serve in a president’s Cabinet, let alone in the service of such an incredible leader,” said Solis.

She said she was proud of her tenure at the department during a time that saw unbearably high unemployment rates.

“We have much to be proud of,” she said. “In the past four years, more than 1.7 million people have completed federally-funded job training programs; of those, more than one million have earned industry-recognized credentials.  In addition, Labor Department investments in our community colleges have expanded their capacity to provide local, flexible, employer-specific job training to millions of Americans, and transformed these institutions into engines of economic growth."

She also touted the department’s work overseeing parts of the controversial 2009 stimulus program, unemployment insurance and mine safety.

Her departure leaves President Obama with one less woman in his cabinet – two of his cabinet replacement picks announced over the past few weeks have been white men.

President Obama issued a short statement praising her four years of service.

“Over her long career in public service – as an advocate for environmental justice in California, state legislator, member of Congress and Secretary of Labor – Hilda Solis has been a tireless champion for working families,” said Obama in a written statement issued by the White House.

“Over the last four years, Secretary Solis has been a critical member of my economic team as we have worked to recover from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression and strengthen the economy for the middle class. Her efforts have helped train workers for the jobs of the future, protect workers’ health and safety and put millions of Americans back to work. I am grateful to Secretary Solis for her steadfast commitment and service not only to the Administration, but on behalf of the American people. I wish her all the best in her future endeavors.”

Solis was the first Hispanic woman to serve in a presidential cabinet.

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