The Union League Club of Chicago’s Public Affairs Committee co-sponsored with the Chicago Federation of Labor a luncheon honoring Secretary of Labor, The Honorable Hilda L. Solis on Wednesday September 2, 2009. Secretary Solis allowed this luncheon to serve as her first Labor Day holiday speech.
The event was well attended by Union League Club members, including Chicago civil justice attorney Robert D. Kreisman, who serves on the Public Affairs Committee. The speech was also attended by active members and officers of local and national unions and many state and federal elected officials, including House of Representatives members Jan Schakowsky and Danny Davis.
Secretary Solis spoke about her early life in California and her upbringing by her union member parents. Previous to her nomination for this post, Secretary Solis served eight years as a United States Congresswoman from the 32d District in California. She was appointed to Secretary of Labor by President Obama and confirmed by the Senate on February 24, 2009.
In Congress, Solis worked to expand access to affordable health care, protect the environment, and improve the lives of working families. A recognized leader on clean energy jobs, she authored the OTT10220.pdf which provided funding for “green” collar job training for veterans, displaced workers, at risk youth and individuals in families under 200% of the federal poverty line. Secretary Solis became the first woman to receive the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award in 2000 for her pioneering work on environmental justice issues.
In her remarks Secretary Solis praised the ground-breaking accomplishments of one of her predecessors, Frances Perkins. Perkins was appointed to Franklin Roosevelt’s cabinet in 1933 as Secretary of Labor in the depths of the Great Depression, becoming the first woman to serve in a cabinet of any previous administration. Secretary Perkins remained in the Labor Department at its head until 1945, which was the entire length of the Roosevelt presidency. Like Solis, Secretary Perkins also delivered a speech at the Union League Club of Chicago in her first year on the job in 1933.
Chicago attorney Robert Kreisman of Kreisman Law Offices has been practicing Illinois civil law for over 30 years, specializing in Illinois personal injury law and Cook County medical malpractice cases.