Best Quotes from Thomas E. Perez

By | January 9, 2019

The best way to promote and protect opportunity is through collaboration, consensus-building, and pragmatic problem-solving. Throughout nearly 30 years in public service, I have approached tough challenges by making room for as many people as possible around the table in search of common ground.

Thomas E. Perez

Of all the tough decisions in life, choosing between the job you need and the family you love should not be one of them.

Thomas E. Perez

On July 2, 1964, President Johnson signed into law the Civil Rights Act. Its enactment, following the longest continuous debate in the history of the U.S. Senate, enshrined into law the basic principle upon which our country was founded: that all people are created equal.

Thomas E. Perez

Dr. King’s last campaign was a labor struggle. Many people are aware that King was assassinated in Memphis in the spring of 1968. Less well-known is what drew him there: solidarity with city sanitation workers, who, without the benefit of union representation, were rising up to protest humiliating pay and deplorable working conditions.

Thomas E. Perez

If the price of a burger goes up 5 cents, and the minimum wage that you have received is going up from $7.25 to $15 an hour – and there have been a number of studies that document just how much the price of a burger might go up if you increase the minimum wage. You match the costs, and the benefits far outweigh the costs.

Thomas E. Perez

We’re trying to make sure that financial advisers act like lawyers and doctors. When you go to a lawyer or doctor, they have an obligation to put your best interests first. Financial advisers don’t.

Thomas E. Perez

Each year, Labor Day gives us an opportunity to recognize the invaluable contributions that working men and women make to our nation, our economy and our collective prosperity. It gives us a chance to show gratitude for workers’ grit, dedication, ingenuity and strength, which define our nation’s character.

Thomas E. Perez

I think one of the most important things we can do for people is to expand opportunity – whether it’s the opportunity to live a life free of discrimination or the opportunity to get a good job that provides a gateway to the middle class. I’ve dedicated my career to expanding opportunity, and it’s proven incredibly rewarding.

Thomas E. Perez

Public service has allowed me to put values my parents taught me into action.

Thomas E. Perez

My parents both came to the United States from the Dominican Republic, and they were deeply grateful for the opportunities this country provided. They raised my siblings and me to want to make a difference and give back. They taught us to work hard and aim high, but to also make sure the ladder was down to help others climb up.

Thomas E. Perez

Community colleges provide higher education where people live, helping to build strong ladders of opportunity that allow people to secure a foothold in the middle class.

Thomas E. Perez

With patience, persistence, and partnership, we can create economic opportunity for every person willing to work hard for it.

Thomas E. Perez

King had come to Memphis to lend his moral authority to the struggle of striking municipal sanitation workers who were overwhelmingly African-American. They earned poverty wages, endured degrading working conditions, and faced brutal beatings when they tried to organize.

Thomas E. Perez

I believe we’re making a mistake if we regard job creation and job safety as mutually exclusive or inherently in conflict; they can and they must go hand-in-hand. We must look for the win-win solutions that create more opportunity for everyone.

Thomas E. Perez

The King Holiday is a celebration of many things – his pursuit of racial justice, his commitment to non-violent resistance, his belief in service and doing for others. But you might also call it the other Labor Day.

Thomas E. Perez

When you work extra, you should be paid extra. That’s what the Fair Labor Standards Act said. And I’ve met so many people who are working 60-70 hours a week, and they are effectively working 20 hours for free because they are making a little bit above the minimum wage, because the 2004 regulation enables employers to do that. That’s not fair.

Thomas E. Perez

I’ve learned that it’s important to listen to employees at all levels, to engage them, to empower them. Whether you’re a first-line supervisor or the head of an entire agency, you should be asking career staffers, ‘What do you think?’

Thomas E. Perez

A secure retirement is one of the pillars of middle class life. For all too many Americans, however, that pillar needs more support.

Thomas E. Perez

Discrimination is not a national defense strategy!

Thomas E. Perez

It’s time to update our workplace policies to reflect the realities of the 21st-century labor force and to support modern working families. It’s time to continue our nation’s long commitment to supporting unemployed workers by extending emergency unemployment compensation.

Thomas E. Perez

Everything has changed in recent decades – the economy, technology, cultural attitudes, the demographics of the workforce, the role of women in society, and the structure of the American family. It’s about time our laws caught up. We watch ‘Modern Family’ on television, but we’re still living by ‘Leave It To Beaver’ rules.

Thomas E. Perez

Historians have often censored civil rights activists’ commitment to economic issues and misrepresented the labor and civil rights movements as two separate, sometimes adversarial efforts. But civil rights and workers’ rights are two sides of the same coin.

Thomas E. Perez

We need to do more to support working families, like guarantee access to paid sick and parental leave and make sure every parent has access to quality, affordable child care.

Thomas E. Perez

We have to invest in people if we’re going to have a country where every person can participate in our economy and share in our prosperity, and we have to break down the many barriers that stand in their way.

Thomas E. Perez

Economically Targeted Investing, or ETI, refers to the practice of selecting investments, in part, for their collateral benefits in addition to the investment return for the retirement plan.

Thomas E. Perez

The theme of the Labor Department’s centennial is ‘Then, Now, Next.’ So in honoring Esther Peterson, we look not just to the past but to the future, acknowledging with honesty and a sense of purpose the lingering challenges we still face and the distance we’ve yet to travel before equality is truly a reality in the lives of all women.

Thomas E. Perez

Labor Day 2013 is special. This year marks the centennial of the U.S. Department of Labor – 100 years of working for America’s workers.

Thomas E. Perez

The Department of Labor’s final conflict of interest rule will ensure that America’s workers and retirees receive retirement advice in their best interest.

Thomas E. Perez

To reward work, to grow the middle class and strengthen the economy, to give millions of Americans the respect they deserve… It’s time to raise the minimum wage.

Thomas E. Perez

People who work full-time in America should not have to live in poverty – simple as that.

Thomas E. Perez

Helping veterans isn’t just a part of my job. For me, it’s personal. It’s in my blood.

Thomas E. Perez

I’ve heard the argument that unemployment benefits somehow act as a disincentive to the long-term unemployed when it comes to looking for work, but the opposite is true. Unemployment insurance serves as a powerful incentive for people to keep searching for jobs rather than drop out of the labor force altogether.

Thomas E. Perez

Misclassification means workers are denied not just minimum wage and overtime but other social safety net protections like workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance.

Thomas E. Perez

My parents didn’t feel that they had any choice but to leave the Dominican Republic. They did, however, choose to become Americans, and they lived American values every day.

Thomas E. Perez

When you put more money in the pockets of working families, they spend it on groceries, gas, school supplies, and other goods and services. And that helps businesses grow and create jobs.

Thomas E. Perez

The overtime rule was frankly diluted in 2004 by a regulation put in place by the Bush administration.

Thomas E. Perez

I’ve got so much going on in my day job. And I’ve been around politics enough to know all the swirl that’s fit to print, and so I focus on the reality of the here and now.

Thomas E. Perez

To fulfill the promise of economic opportunity, we must remain true to the principle that collective bargaining is a cornerstone of a free society and indispensable to a strong middle class.

Thomas E. Perez

Under the leadership of President Obama and a whole host of partners, including nonprofits, foundations, and advocates, the Department of Labor has made historic investments in community colleges, apprenticeships, coding boot camps, and summer jobs.

Thomas E. Perez

The first Friday of every month is what we call Numbers Day – it’s the day that the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases the monthly jobs report. We have a ritual at the Labor Department – at 8 A.M., we gather around a table in my office, and the commissioner of labor statistics briefs me and the department’s senior leadership on the numbers.

Thomas E. Perez

We need to enact comprehensive immigration reform, to bring people out of the shadows and empower them to more fully and freely participate in their communities and the economy. And we need to invest in our nation’s deteriorating infrastructure – investments that would create jobs and benefit all sectors of the economy.

Thomas E. Perez

Americans should be able to enjoy a secure retirement after a lifetime of hard work. But too many Americans reach retirement without enough savings to supplement their Social Security benefits.

Thomas E. Perez

Workers are most likely to save for retirement if they have access to a workplace savings plan and are automatically enrolled in that plan.

Thomas E. Perez

When the federal government imposes a mandate on the states or supersedes a state policy, conservatives often rise in protest.

Thomas E. Perez

When I travel around the country and talk about the need to raise the minimum wage or expand access to paid leave, I often talk about the need for us to reject false choices.

Thomas E. Perez

The United States is one of the few nations on the planet where paid family and medical leave or earned sick time is not the law of the land.

Thomas E. Perez

As I travel around the country, I am inspired by leaders who know that offering paid leave – whether sick time or family leave – isn’t just the right thing to do: it’s essential to building an economy that works for everyone.

Thomas E. Perez

I believe the passage of a national paid family and medical leave law is not a question of if, but when. But as is so often the case on important public policy issues, we need states and localities to be the incubators of innovation.

Thomas E. Perez

My father earned his citizenship by serving in the Army during World War II. He devoted his life to caring for our nations veterans at a VA hospital in Buffalo, New York. That desire to serve fellow Americans propelled my four siblings into medical careers, too.

Thomas E. Perez

Years after my parents made the United States their home, I had the joy of traveling to the Dominican Republic with my kids. They saw where it all started and how their grandparents’ values survived and thrived in America.

Thomas E. Perez

My mother fiercely valued education. She entered college the same year I did, in 1979, and graduated eight years later. She was a remarkable role model for all of us.

Thomas E. Perez

Companies are recognizing that paid leave reduces training and turnover costs, that it’s a formula for recruiting and retaining good workers.

Thomas E. Perez

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