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While Americans Lose Jobs, Elaine Campaigns for Hubby Mitch

In the month of September, the United States lost an additional 159,000 jobs, with 9.5 million Americans being out of work. Combined with the collapse of our financial markets and increased economic uncertainty, you’d think Elaine Chao might be spending her last months on the job working to ensure that those who are laid off can find new jobs and receive assistance. Instead, she’s barnstorming Kentucky in an effort to help her husband, Senator Mitch McConnell, hang on to his hotly-contested Senate seat. In the last week alone, she’s made two campaign stops at opposite ends of the state. According to the press:

On Saturday, October 4th:

Sen. Mitch McConnell made a campaign stop in Georgetown on Saturday evening and warned supporters against voting for his opponent, Bruce Lunsford.

“If I were replaced by a freshman, Kentucky would have a severe loss in clout in the Senate,” McConnell said while meeting supporters at the Scott County Republican Party headquarters.

McConnell and his wife, Elaine Chao, U.S. Labor Secretary, who called the senator her soul mate and roommate, shook hands and thanked supporters before riding in the Toyota Grand Parade of Horses.

On Monday, October 6th:

U.S Labor Secretary Elaine Chao spoke in London Monday, asking Laurel Countians to support the “entrepreneurial spirit” of America as well as her husband, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Chao spoke during the London-Laurel Chamber of Commerce’s Women in Business dinner Monday evening, sharing a little about her life story – from arriving in America as part of a cargo ship, to becoming the nation’s 24th Secretary of Labor.

She also attended a meet and greet reception at the north London Hampton Inn hosted by the Laurel County Republican Party, where she talked about McConnell’s reelection campaign and the presidential race.

“This is going to be a tough, tough season for Republicans,” she told the crowd, “and I think when you are talking with your various friends and neighbors, and they want change, we need to ask them, ‘what kind of change are you talking about? What kind of change do you want?’… We need to be very careful that we’re actually opting for the right kind of change.”

America’s workers want change, and it starts with a Secretary of Labor who actually does his or her job. Elaine’s partisan and personal priorities couldn’t be any clearer.

 

Kim Bobo: We Need a Secretary of Labor Who Cares About Workers

 

Elaine Chao is no Frances Perkins. We’ve made the comparison before to FDR’s legendary Labor Secretary, and Elaine certainly doesn’t come out well.  And as Elaine’s term winds to a close, it’s time to begin thinking about the next person to fill this position. Kim Bobo of Interfaith Worker Justiceexpanded on both these themes in a recent must-read piece:

We need a Labor Secretary in the mold of Frances Perkins, whose top priority was to help the working man…we need a Secretary of Labor who cares about workers and who will at least try to address issues faced by workers. Unfortunately for the nation, we have a Secretary of Labor who is Missing in Action.

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. Kim also gives a suggested list of new priorities for our next Labor Secretary, including:

[E]nforce the wage and hour laws in meaningful ways.

[L]ead the charge in supporting unemployed workers.

[C]ommit to developing the 21st-century supports America’s workers need.

We particularly like this item:

[S]upport the fundamental rights of all workers to organize into unions of their choice. Although Perkins wasn’t the first choice of labor unions for secretary, she overcame their hesitations with her steadfast support for workers’ rights to organize in the workplace. Elaine Chao, in contrast, has used her public voice to attack the Employee Free Choice Act , the most significant labor law reform to come along in decades.

No matter who wins this hotly-contested election, workers desperately need a new Labor Secretary who will put their interests first. The new Secretary would do well to examine Frances Perkins’ example.

Breaking News: Elaine’s Labor Department Misled Congress

Today’s Washington Post article exposes once again the gross mismanagement Elaine Chao has exercised in her role leading the Department of Labor. In particular, the Government Accountability Office issued a report on Monday revealing the Labor Department gave Congress erroneous and unreliable figures minimizing the actual expense of a practice we are all too familiar with – contracting out its own employees’ work to private firms.As theWashington Post reports:

The department’s decisions in allowing contractors to compete for bureaucrats’ work — known as “competitive sourcing” — alsodemoralized workers, according to most of the 60 agency employees interviewed by the GAO.

“DOL’s savings reports are not reliable: a sample of three reports contained inaccuracies, and others used projections when actual numbers were available, which sometimes resulted in overstated savings,” the GAO report said. “Because of these and other weaknesses, DOL is hindered in its ability to determine if services are being provided more efficiently as a result of competitive sourcing.”

President Harry Truman had a famous sign on his desk proclaiming “The Buck Stops Her