WASHINGTON, Jan. 9, 2013 - Labor Secretary Hilda Solis announced her resignation today, leaving behind the controversy her department sparked last year when it was planning a rule to limit what types of work minors can perform on a farm.

In a statement, President Obama praised her as “a tireless champion for working families.”

“Her efforts have helped train workers for the jobs of the future, protect workers’ health and safety and put millions of Americans back to work,” Obama said.

In a Jan. 9 letter to department employees, Solis thanked them for their contributions.

“Leaving the department is one of the most difficult decisions I have ever made, because I have taken our mission to heart,” Solis said. “As the daughter of parents who worked in factories, paid their union dues and achieved their goal of a middle class life, and as the first Latina to head a major federal agency, it has been an incredible honor to serve.”

The department had argued the rule, which was proposed in 2011, would affect only minors on a formal payroll and would keep the youth workers from using certain heavy equipment and doing other possibly dangerous jobs on a farm.

Many agricultural organizations rallied against the rule, arguing it could hinder young workers from getting into the family farm business, and that it amounted to over-regulation.

Amid a large amount of oppositional comments, the department chose to scrap the rule in April 2012.


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