Earlier this week, Secretary Hilda Solis announced that she is leaving the Department of Labor (DOL), creating a vacancy for President Obama to fill.
In her letter to DOL employees, Solis stated that she submitted her resignation to President Obama earlier in the day after “much discussion with family and close friends” over the holiday season. Solis’ letter praised the enforcement efforts of the DOL, noting that last year the largest number of investigations were conducted “in recent memory, collecting the most back wages in our history (more than $280 million on behalf of more than 300,000 workers denied their rightful pay, overtime or leave benefits).” Solis also claimed that DOL’s “enforcement and resolution programs resulted in the recovery of almost $5 billion dollars for retirees and their families.”
Solis was confirmed as DOL Secretary in February 2009, after GOP lawmakers raised concerns about her strong ties to labor advocacy groups. In her announcement, Solis noted her family’s ties to unions as “the daughter of parents who worked in factories, paid their union dues and achieved their goal of a middle class life.”
The resignation of Solis, the first Latina -American, comes at a time that President Obama has been criticized for a lack of diversity in his recent cabinet selections.