The Senate grilled President-elect Obama’s pick for Labor Secretary on a variety of issues at her confirmation hearing.
However, because of the emphasis placed on the Employee Free Choice Act during the hearing, not one Senator asked Hilda Solis about OSHA.
The “card-check” legislation would make it easier for unions to organize in the workplace.
Solis and Obama have backed the legislation in the past. Many Senate Republicans oppose it.
So what do we know about Solis’ position on OSHA?
She’s viewed as a supporter of more funding for a stronger OSHA that would put more emphasis on enforcement than the Bush administration has.
In the U.S. House, she voted “no” on a resolution to strip the Labor Department’s enforcement authority over ergonomics rules submitted during the Clinton Administration. Those rules were thrown out in 2001 and would have forced businesses to take steps to prevent work-related repetitive stress disorders.
For the moment, we’ll have to wait for Obama’s appointment of an OSHA administrator to get a better feel for the new administration’s workplace safety policies. Obama has called for an invigorated OSHA, but a federal budget crunch may limit extra funds for the agency. And it appears the union legislation is a higher priority at the moment.