February 12, 2008

Campaign Exposes Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao’s Corporate Ties and Record of Failings

American Rights at Work Demands Accountability and Immediate Change of Course 

Josh Goldstein, 202-822-2127 x118

WASHINGTON, DC—American Rights at Work today launched an unprecedented web-based campaign highlighting the numerous failures of Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao, President Bush’s longest-serving cabinet member. Through ShameOnElaine.org, the public will get a glimpse of the egregious policies Chao has inflicted on America’s workers, including her rollbacks of critical mine safety protections, hostility toward workers and their unions, and collaboration with corporate interests, most notably through her husband, Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

“Elaine Chao’s family connections and corporate ties have transformed the Department of Labor into the ‘Department of Business,’” said Mary Beth Maxwell, Executive Director of American Rights at Work. “From littering the Labor Department with individuals holding a blatant corporate agenda to jeopardizing the health and safety of workers across America, Chao has undermined the role of the very agency she’s supposed to manage.”

Engaging hundreds of thousands of online activists, bloggers, and workers’ rights advocates, American Rights at Work is increasing pressure on Chao to reverse course during her remaining year as Secretary of Labor while informing the public of the numerous actions she’s taken on behalf of corporate interests and against workers.

“This is a classic case of a fox guarding the henhouse.  Unlike her cohorts in the Bush administration, Chao has escaped much-needed public scrutiny of her record.  Elaine Chao’s long honeymoon is over as we are taking her to task on a wide range of issues and policies she’s supported to the detriment of America’s workers,” said Maxwell.

As the administration enters its final year, American Rights at Work will demand accountability from Chao and help raise the standards necessary for the next Secretary of Labor. The campaign will run through the remainder of Chao’s tenure, giving Americans a unique opportunity to weigh in online and participate in the debate surrounding her legacy.

For more information, visit ShameOnElaine.org.

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