The labor and employment law changes from the Obama Administration are coming so quickly, we are introducing The Transition Report, a daily, or near-daily, update on the changes. On many of these topics, we will follow up with more in-depth coverage.
Yesterday the new administration was relatively quiet on labor and employment issues, so here's a quick rundown on some of President Obama's recent appointments:
*While Solis sits in Committee, Obama names acting Secretary of Labor. Rep. Hilda Solis (D-Calif.) is Obama's choice for Secretary of Labor, but her nomination is currently stalled in the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee while she answers questions and faces a "hold" from at least one Republican because of her support for the Employee Free Choice Act and her ties to organized labor. Yesterday, the Obama Administration announced that it was naming 32-year Labor veteran Edward C. Hugler as acting secretary. Hugler most recently has been deputy assistant secretary for operations in the DOL's Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management, with responsibility for internal human resources, information technology, civil rights, and business services. He has also been a lawyer in the Solicitor's Office and was in charge of the DOL's "Y2K" project.
*Changeover (and over, and over) at the EEOC. The President has appointed Stuart J. Ishimaru as acting Chair, and Christine M. Griffin as acting Vice Chair, of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Meanwhile, the EEOC announced Monday that its General Counsel under President Bush has formally resigned. Ishimaru, who succeeds Naomi Earp, has been a Commissioner since 2003 and has been key to several of the more aggressive initiatives under the Bush Administration: (1) the focus on systemic discrimination, (2) the e-RACE initiative (focusing on race, color, and national origin discrimination), and (3) the "caregiver discrimination" initiative. Ishimaru has a long history of government service and was appointed in 1993 by President William Jefferson Clinton to be Acting Staff Director of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Christine Griffin was a relatively new member of the Commission, appointed in 2006. She is an advocate for diversity in federal employment and efficiency in the Commission. Before joining the EEOC, Griffin was Executive Director of the Disability Law Center in Boston, and she's a Vietnam-Era veteran. The EEOC also announced Monday the resignation of General Counsel Ronald S. Cooper, who will return to his private law practice in Washington, D.C. President Obama has not yet nominated a successor. Ishimaru said of Cooper, a Republican, "His contributions have made an indelible mark on the Office of General Counsel, and leave the agency a better place."
*Lorenzo Harrison named acting head of OFCCP. The Obama Administration has named Lorenzo Harrison, Regional Director for the Northeast Region and national policy director of the OFCCP, as acting head of the agency.
*Pro-EFCA Wilma Liebman named chair of NLRB. We reported on this appointment in a Client Bulletin last week.
*Janet Napolitano -- mixed reviews? Former Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano, now Obama's Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, is expected to be tough, or at least moderate, on immigration enforcement. As governor, she drew fire from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business groups when she signed a state law requiring employers in Arizona to use E-Verify on penalty of (ultimately) losing their business licenses. However, business groups like the fact that she favors guestworker programs that allow foreigners to work temporarily in the United States.
And, in other news . . .
*E-Verify postponed . . . again. In connection with our story Monday about the deadline being extended for use of the new I-9 form, we should have mentioned that the effective date of the E-Verify regulations has also been extended yet again. The rule, originally to take effect January 15, 2009, was to require all federal contractors to use E-Verify to confirm that new hires and current employees who work on federal contracts are eligible to work in the United States. The Obama Administration postponed the effective date of the rule to February 20, 2009, and now has postponed it again, to May 21, 2009.
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