Labor advocate and founding executive director of the American Rights at Work (ARW) Mary Beth Maxwell is joining the Department of Labor (DOL) as a senior advisor to Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis. According to an ARW press release, Maxwell will work with the White House Task Force on Middle Class Working Families, the Obama Administration’s new initiative aimed at “restoring labor standards, improving workplace safety, enhancing work and family balance, protecting retirement security, and helping protect middle- and working-class incomes.”
Maxwell has been a vocal advocate of the beleaguered Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), and was widely rumored to be Obama’s pick to serve as Secretary of Labor. Maxwell is most known for her work at the ARW, a nonprofit advocacy organization begun in 2003 whose mission is to “promote the freedom of workers to join a union and bargain collectively.” Solis herself has ties to the ARW, having once served as the organization’s treasurer and board member. Prior to working at the ARW, Maxwell served as National Field Director for Jobs with Justice, an organization affiliated with the Service Employees International Union with which Secretary Solis is closely aligned. Her other positions have included acting as Deputy Field Director for NARAL, directing the pro-choice organization’s electoral, legislative, media, and fundraising training programs for local affiliates. Maxwell has also worked as Field Director for the United States Student Association.