Solis' Replacement Joins House Labor Committee

U.S. Rep. George Miller, who chairs the Education and Labor Committee, welcomed his fellow Californian to the panel today and announced a bill has been filed to ensure workers don't lose back pay if wage and hour investigations are delayed.

Another Californian joined the U.S. House Education and Labor Committee today. U.S. Rep. Judy Chu, who handily won a runoff July 14 to capture the 32nd Congressional District seat vacated when Hilda Solis became U.S. Labor secretary, has joined the committee and will be a member of its Healthy Families and Communities and Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education subcommittees, Chairman George Miller, a fellow California Democrat, announced.

"I am honored to have Congresswoman Chu join us on the Education and Labor Committee. As a former educator, she will be an enormous asset to our education subcommittees and our ongoing efforts to improve educational opportunities for Americans. Her insight will be absolutely invaluable to the committee, and I look forward to working closely with her toward our goals of building a world-class education system, making college more affordable, strengthening and protecting workers and their families and creating an economy that works for all Americans again."

Miller also announced the introduction of H.R. 3303, the Wage Theft Prevention Act, which would ensure that delays in investigating claims of wage theft will not result in a permanent loss of back pay for workers. A Government Accountability Office report had found some investigations of wage theft were dropped by DOL's Wage and Hour Division during the Bush administration; the bill answers a recommendation GAO made in the report. Ensuring employers pay legally required overtime to workers has been a high priority for Solis' department; just today, she announced Partners HealthCare Systems Inc. and affiliates in eastern Massachusetts have agreed to pay 700 employees more than $2.7 million in overtime back wages to resolve a lawsuit filed by the Wage and Hour Division. Partners' management brought the matter to the division after realizing affiliate companies might be violating the Fair Labor Standards Act, according to DOL. The back pay of $2,756,514 covers work done from Jan. 1, 2007, through March 21, 2009.

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