Thursday, January 08, 2009

The clock is ticking down on the final days of the Bush Administration. If all the compromising documents haven't been shredded and all the suspicious emails haven't been deleted by now it's probably too late. The following from the American Rights at Work is a rather gloating request, but its target probably deserves such a treatment. Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao has presided over some of the most anti-worker actions that an American government has ever undertaken. The ARaW wants you to give her a sarcastic sendoff. Sort of like waving bye bye to the pieces after you've had hemorrhoid surgery. Here's the skivvy.

Say "Ciao" to Chao:‏

Ciao, Secretary Chao!

We can't let Elaine leave the Labor Department without sending along our parting thoughts.
Click here to send your heartfelt retirement card.
You and Elaine Chao go way back. So many memories...

Like the time your "Shame on Elaine" emails and phone calls emboldened whistleblowers within the Department of Labor. Or, who can forget Elaine's questionable handling of mine safety and her gutting of workplace safety regulations?

Remember Elaine's birthday? When her palace guards wouldn't let us drop off stacks of petitions 25,000 of you signed urging her to protect workers' rights, because we were supposedly a security threat?

Elaine certainly hasn't forgotten your efforts. In yesterday's USA Today she offers a (weak) "'thank you,' to [my] critics for exercising their constitutional right to speak out."¹ In fact, the article mentions American Rights at Work as holding her to task for her support of corporate interests over workers' rights. But now it's time to say goodbye, because, on January 20, Elaine Chao will no longer be the Secretary of Labor (sniff, sniff).

Leave it to the Bush administration to retain one of its absolute worst Cabinet members till the bitter end. Elaine is still trying to defend her tenure, even boasting about "her record in improving health and safety."¹ But you know Secretary Chao has set back decades of progress at the Department of Labor by stonewalling investigations, embracing corporate special interests, and showing general contempt for working families.

We can't undo Elaine's damage overnight – it will take long enough just to remove all the pictures of Elaine hung throughout the Department of Labor interiors! But thankfully we can all have hope that, under incoming Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, we will raise the minimum wage, protect workers' rights, safety, and economic security, and pass the Employee Free Choice Act.
But it would be a shame to give the outgoing Secretary anything but a ‘proper sendoff.'

And since we want the departing Secretary's mailbox to be overflowing, don't forget to pass this message along to friends and family – ask them to send their best retirement wishes to Elaine as well.

Thanks for keeping Elaine in your thoughts. I know how much the Secretary will appreciate hearing from you one last time!
Liz Cattaneo
American Rights at Work

P.S. Want to relive the Chao administration all over again? Can't remember exactly how many safety recommendations she failed to implement? Visit to read all about Elaine's dismal tenure as Labor Secretary.

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