Solis Wishes Labor Could Have Regulated More

Former labor secretary picks restrictions on children working on family farms as top missed project

January 28, 2013

What one thing does former Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis wish she had had more time to do in her post? More regulation.

Solis, who resigned earlier this month, told Roland Martin in a "Washington Watch" interview she wishes Labor's effort to restrict children from working on family farms could have been enacted:

MARTIN: What – some of the things that jumped out that you said, "Man! I have four years, but I still wish I had more time to do." That was really important to you.

SOLIS: I’ll tell you one of the things that has been an obstacle is trying to get our regulations through, and a lot of it has to do with the lobbying groups, or the folks that are opposed to some of the reforms that we wanted to see happen to protect children in farm labor – which, to me, makes so much sense; trying to protect workers in hazardous conditions, really trying to go after those bad employers that really put people in harm’s way and don’t care about – they game the system. They don’t care about making reforms or making it safe for their people to not get injured or be killed. I mean [the] construction industry, coalmine industry.

There’re a lot of areas that we want to work with people, but please don’t just come out thinking that all we want to do is destroy the economy because we’re asking for enforcement. These are the laws. Nobody came here to create new laws, necessarily. We want to implement the laws that are currently on the book and refine them, and you do it through regulation.

The national unemployment rate for the month of December 2012 was 7.8 percent; labor force participation was at 63.6 percent. Solis' successor has yet to be nominated.