These are just a few "highlights" from Elaine Chao's deplorable tenure as President Bush's Secretary of Labor. What a disaster she was for all of us who work for a paycheck.
Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao made a mockery of her office, stripping workers of basic protections and promoting corporate interests.
But change is coming. President-elect Obama has just named Rep. Hilda Solis of California, a Board Member of American Rights at Work, as the next Secretary of Labor.
We will finally have a Secretary who will actually protect working people – not just big business.
Rep. Solis has been a member of that board for over five years, and she's been a champion of progressive causes for decades. The AFL-CIO wholeheartedly supports her for this important position.
She has her work cut out for her – it will take years to undo the damage caused by Secretary Chao's irresponsible policies.
What should be first on Rep. Solis' list of priorities?
Passing the Employee Free Choice Act: The Employee Free Choice Act will make it easier for workers to form unions and bargain for better wages and benefits.
Supporting Workplace Safety: Elaine Chao's policies contributed to more than 400,000 worker injuries and five deaths. It's time to keep workers safe by strengthening and enforcing worker protections and holding mines and other companies accountable for illegal actions.
Protecting Workers from Wage Theft: The Labor Department must ensure that workers are paid what they earn or are due; employers who break the law should be held accountable.
Raising the Minimum Wage: Not only does minimum wage need to be raised, but the Earned Income Tax Credit needs to be increased so that all full-time workers earn a living wage.
Supporting Working Families: Workers shouldn't have to choose between being productive workers and good family members; paid sick days, family leave and flexible work arrangements mean healthy, secure families and a robust workforce.
Ending the "Supervisor Scam": Under Bush's leadership, workers were stripped of their right to organize when mid-level workers – from nurses to retail employees – were suddenly named "supervisors," and thus prevented from joining unions.
This is a welcome change that will directly affect each and every worker in the United States. The last eight years brought nothing but anti-worker decisions from this important office. Now we will once again see what a real Secretary of Labor does to protect the interests of all working people. The last one, Chao - was a political puppet bought and paid for by big business.