Since taking her position in the Obama Administration, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis has served as an instrumental force in helping millions of unemployed during this economic crisis. Her critical role in helping the labor market recuperate and consequentially the economy underscores the importance for all women and Hispanics in leadership roles. Most recently , she represented the United States at a gathering of labor ministers from all around the world in Rome. Today she joins us as our guest blogger for La Plaza.
This past week, I joined the Labor ministers of the Group of Eight industrialized countries to discuss labor and employment issues in the lead up to the G8 Summit in July.
I was pleased that the theme of the Summit was “People First.” On Friday, we learned that unemployment in the United States rose to 8.5 percent. As Labor Secretary, I understand that these are not just numbers. These are families with mortgages to pay, children to care for, and retirements to plan. These are workers that deserve economic security.
The U.S. commitment to breaking the destructive cycle of job loss and protect families starts at the top. President Obama has made it clear through words and actions that the United States intends to lead when it comes to addressing the global economic crisis. And since January the United States has led.
Under the direction of President Obama, my colleagues in the Cabinet and I are working hard to implement the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act which will inject $787 billion into our economy. I am proud that 90 percent of the funds available through my Department were released to our communities within the first 30 days.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act puts people first. It includes $1.25 billion in supportive services for dislocated workers, $400 million to help states operate their unemployment insurance and employment service programs and $80 million in worker health and safety protections needed to investigate abuses in the workplace affecting low wage workers, women, immigrants and children. We also cut health care premiums paid by dislocated workers, so they are only responsible for 35 percent of the premiums when involuntarily terminated.
The message I sent at the G8 Labor Ministers meeting was simple. Our nation’s greatest resource is its human labor force. As the 25th Labor Secretary of the United States, I will listen, learn and help lead efforts to protect our nation’s great resources – its human labor force.
We would like to thank Secretary Solis for sharing with our readers.