WASHINGTON — President Obama on Monday nominated Thomas Perez, currently head of the Justice Department’s civil rights division, as his next Secretary of Labor.
Perez, an assistant attorney general at Justice, who has headed the agency’s civil rights division for three-and-a-half years, is the son of immigrants from the Dominican Republic.
Prior to his tenure at Justice, Perez was secretary of Maryland’s Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, which enforces workplace safety and wage and hour laws.
If confirmed by the Senate, Perez would take the helm of an agency that enforces regulations that have implications for many segments of the fashion business, including the country’s minimum wage and overtime laws under the Fair Labor Standards Act, as well as health and safety regulations.
The agency also monitors and assists in reducing and eradicating the use of child labor in the garment, footwear and textile industries around the world.
Since 1995 the Labor Department has funded more than 250 child labor projects in more than 90 countries.
The agency publishes an annual list of goods produced by child and forced labor that the fashion industry watches closely.
The Labor Department has also been aggressive in enforcing the FLSA in Southern California. In the past five years, the department has conducted more than 1,500 investigations of employers in Southern California’s garment industry, finding violations in 93 percent of cases, according to the agency.
Perez would assume the Cabinet position at a time when the Obama administration has proposed raising the federal minimum wage to $9 an hour from $7.25 and indexing it to inflation, and is pressing for a major overhaul of immigration laws.
“We’ve got here today Gov. Martin O’Malley (D., Md.), and Martin appointed Tom as Secretary of Maryland’s Department of Labor, where he helped implement the country’s first statewide living-wage law, because he understood that a minimum wage should be a wage that you can live on,” Obama said at the White House announcement. “We’re going to have to work very hard to make sure that folks find jobs with good wages and good benefits. We’ve got to make sure that our veterans who are returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan have a chance to put their incredible skills and leadership to work at home. We need to build an immigration system that works for every employee and every family and every business. I’m confident that Tom is going to be able to work to promote economic growth, but also make sure that that growth is broad-based.”
Perez would succeed Hilda Solis, who left the post in January.
EXCLUSIVE: @tomford is opening its first-ever beauty store. The boutique, which opens November 20 in London’s Covent Gardens, was designed with the over-the-top glam Ford is known for. Read the full story on WWD.com, link in bio. #wwdbeauty #wwdnews (📷: Simon Wagner) #TomFordBeauty
New York-based DJ @harleyvnewton threw a party to celebrate the holiday collection of her dress and pajama line @hvn at the Ladurée Beverly Hills. It Girls @katebosworth, @rashidajones and more joined in on the fun, which included cocktails, croque monsieur sandwiches and a photo booth. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com)
For the holidays, @Burberry partnered with 20-year-old artist @blondeymccoy on a series of three outdoor murals in downtown Manhattan. The murals are McCoy’s interpretation of a Christmas eve party, the idea of charity and the spirit of family. His third mural, pictured here, is the most personal. The image depicts McCoy’s grandparents and father in London’s Trafalgar Square in the Seventies. “My work often features lots of sentimental objects.” #wwdeye
For spring 2018, designers applied bold colors and cartoonish motifs on everything from sneakers and belts to key chains. See all the top men’s accessories trends on WWD.com. #wwdtrends (📷: George Chinsee; Prop Styling by @rnasti; Market Editor: @luiscampuzano)
The @dior-sponsored @guggenheim international gala pre-party has a history of drawing cool-girl musical acts to serenade the crowd –– and last night was no exception. @haimtheband performed songs both new and old, and lured a star-studded audience with the likes of Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, Mamoudou Athie and more. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
In a partnership between the @metopera and the @englishnationalopera, “Marnie” was born. The opera, with costumes sponsored by @mrporterlive, is an adaptation of the 1961 thriller by Winston Graham. Arianne Phillips, who created the costumes, is no rookie: She’s styled Madonna for her tours and created costumes for a myriad of films in the past. Read WWD’s interview with Phillips, where she talks about her inspiration for the opera’s costumes on WWD.com #wwdfashion
@barneysnyc took a different approach to their holiday windows this year. Instead of Christmas decor, Barneys tapped @thehaasbrothers to tell a story of positivity, gratitude and inclusivity via heartwarming silliness and humor. “It’s about kids and it’s about coming together and being family and loving each other,” said Simon Haas. #wwdfashion (📷: @joshuascottphoto)
Beauty influencer @kandeejohnson makes her foray into hair care with a collaboration with @ogx_beauty — making it the first time that OGX has teamed up for a product creation. The collab includes shampoos and conditioners in three scents. At 39 and a mom, Johnson is a different profile than the emerging social media stars, but is considered one of the pioneers of the digital beauty influencer world. Read WWD’s interview with her on wwd.com, including the strangest beauty product she’s ever tried #wwdbeauty