Labor secretary: GOP govs asking workers to give up their rights

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) is trying to force workers in his state to give up their rights, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis said Saturday.

Solis, speaking at the Democratic National Committee's (DNC) Winter Meeting, accosted Walker and Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) for their efforts to reform collective bargaining rights for public workers in their states.

"We know that many states are facing tough budget decisions. We know there's room for shared sacrifice," Solis said. "But the governors in Wisconsin and Ohio aren't just asking workers to tighten their belts, they're asking them to give up their uniquely American rights as workers."


Members of the Obama administration have been careful about weighing in on the labor dispute in Wisconsin, which entered its 12th day on Saturday. President Obama has called Walker's proposals an "assault on unions," but has said little else about it.

As Labor secretary, Solis is somewhat of a point person for the administration on the issue. She met on Thursday with Vice President Biden and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, along with the presidents of AFL-CIO organizations. Her remarks on the dispute before a DNC meeting also reflect the close political relationship between the official Democratic Party and organized labor.

"All they're really asking for is the opportunity to sit down at the table, like grown-ups, and to work together to solve problems," she said of protesters in Madison. "And that's what collective bargaining is all about."