President Obama has announced his nomination of Thomas Perez, currently the head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, for Secretary of Labor:
As the head of the U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, Tom has fought to open pathways into the workforce for everyone willing to contribute, including people with disabilities, LGBT Americans, and immigrants…
Tom has also spent a career as a consensus-builder. He’s worked with CEOs, he’s worked with labor leaders. He’s worked at federal, state, and local government levels. And throughout, he understands that our economy works best when the middle class and those working to get into the middle class have the security they need on the job, a democratic voice in the workplace, everybody playing by the same set of rules.
LGBT groups have come out in support of the nomination. Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey said today:
Thomas Perez is a terrific choice for labor secretary. He has a proven track record of support for workers and those who have faced discrimination. A champion of civil rights, he represented the administration and testified before the U.S. Senate in 2009 in support of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, a bill that would protect employees on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. As head of the Civil Rights Division at the Justice Department, he challenged state voter suppression efforts and pursued a record number of discrimination or brutality claims against local law enforcement agencies, including the very visible Trayvon Martin racial profiling case.
The Labor Department is critical to advancing, enforcing and preserving policies that directly impact the lives and livelihoods of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and our families. It has made significant policy advances over the past few years in this regard. These advances include adding gender identity as a protected category to the department’s equal employment statement, and clarifying that the Family and Medical Leave Act is inclusive of same-sex couples raising children.
Thomas Perez at the helm of the Labor Department will help keep this momentum moving forward. We urge the Senate to confirm him.