“In the 1990s, he worked on the front lines of the effort to pass comprehensive immigration reform under the leadership of the great Sen. Ted Kennedy — a job that will serve him well in today’s drive for commonsense immigration reform,” Trumka said.
Business-oriented stakeholders, meanwhile, took a wait-and-see approach, similar to Alexander’s.
“The Department of Labor handles many issues of importance to employers and employees, and it is our hope that Mr. Perez will work with the business community to advance policies that promote jobs and economic growth,” said Randy Johnson, the senior vice president of Labor, Immigration and Employee Benefits at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
“From our point of view, he’s no worse than the rest,” said Fred Wszolek, spokesman for the anti-labor Workforce Fairness Institute. “He will be strongly pro-labor and will push union bosses’ agenda, and we assume he’ll do that just fine. But we’re just happy it’s not a nominee like Richard Griffin.”
Obama appointed Griffin, a former union official, along with Sharon Block to the National Labor Relations Board while the Senate was on holiday break in January 2012. Both appointments were recently ruled invalid by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
“The standard used to be the appearance of his propriety,” Wszolek said. “There doesn’t seem to be that kind of issue with this nomination.”
Terri Henderson, 6, center, whose mother is El Salvador, attends a rally with members of Congress at Union Station's Columbus Circle to announce the Restore Opportunity, Strengthen, and Improve the Economy (ROSIE) Act on July 29, 2014. The legislation provides incentives for government contractors to pay a living wage and other benefits that would help low-income workers.