New DOL chief promises collaboration
Stating he was eager to get down to work as “the first secretary of the department’s second century,” Thomas E. Perez marked the first day on the job by writing a blog saying, “I believe we can and we must work together on policy solutions that are both are pro-business and pro-worker.”
Among his other remarks, he said, “The best way to promote and protect opportunity is through collaboration, consensus-building and pragmatic problem-solving. Throughout nearly 30 years in public service, I have approached tough challenges by making room for as many people as possible around the table in search of common ground. That’s how I will continue to do business as Secretary of Labor.”
“When you tackle problems by listening to all stakeholders, you eliminate the kind of zero-sum false choices that have too often dominated our politics in recent years. I believe we can and we must work together on policy solutions that are both are pro-business and pro-worker. ,,, We must look for the win-win solutions that create more opportunity for everyone.”
“I believe we're making a mistake if we regard job creation and job safety as mutually exclusive or inherently in conflict; they can and they must go hand-in-hand,” he continued. “We must look for the win-win solutions that create more opportunity for everyone.”
Management-side lawyers say that under Perez, the DOL may take an even tougher enforcement stance than it did under previous labor secretary, Hilda Solis.
But in the blog post, Perez struck a different tone — casting himself as willing to listen to concerns of both workers and the overall business community.
Perez, who previously served as the head of the U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division, won confirmation to the Secretary of Labor post from the Senate on July 18, after Republicans agreed to allow his nomination to proceed to a confirmation vote as part of a larger deal involving several of President Obama's nominees.
During the confirmation process, Republicans criticized Perez's handling of a False Claims Act case against St. Paul, Minn., claiming that he had secretly brokered a quid pro quo deal for the government not to intervene in a whistleblower case against the city.
They also accused him of refusing to comply with a House committee subpoena seeking around 1,200 personal emails that allegedly related to his official duties at the DOJ.