News From New York State Senator George Onorato Chairman, Senate Standing Committee on Labor

George Onorato

March 20, 2009


State Senator George Onorato (D-Queens), the chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Labor, made the following statement regarding President Obama’s decision to nominate New York State Department of Labor Commissioner M. Patricia Smith for the position of Solicitor of Labor at the United States Department of Labor:

“State Labor Commissioner Patricia Smith’s pending ascension to United States Solicitor of Labor is most definitely New York State’s loss and the nation’s gain.  Ever since she was appointed as State Labor Commissioner in 2007, Patricia Smith has made a name for herself as an unstinting advocate for working people who has strongly enforced the state’s labor laws to protect employees from wage violations, unsafe working conditions and other abuses.

“Commissioner Smith’s efforts to protect workers and ensure that they are paid and treated fairly have been nothing short of extraordinary.  In 2008 alone, the Labor Department collected and disbursed almost $25 million to workers who were illegally denied their proper wages, including more than $5 million provided to employees of Jin Shun Incorporated, a garment contractor in my own Senate District.

“As chair of the Senate Labor Committee, and as a New Yorker, I know that I will miss Commissioner Smith’s work on behalf of our state.  But President Obama couldn’t have made a better choice in deciding to put her to work on behalf of  America’s working men and women.”