Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao accurately represents the many accomplishments of the Department of Labor during her eight-year tenure in today’s Wall Street Journal, “Our Workers Deserve Secret Ballots.” Her persuasive arguments against the anti-democratic Employee Free Choice Act will be familiar to readers of this blog — see these posts — so let’s just highlight the Department’s achievements on behalf of the worker and the employer.
Today we have record-low workplace injury, illness and fatality rates. The department set new records in the number of workers recovering back wages owed to them through effectively targeted enforcement and our compliance assistance program. To meet the needs of workers in our knowledge-based economy we launched new programs to bring employers, workers, unions and educators together for new training and new career opportunities. The department also secured record monetary recoveries for workers’ pension plans.
On the regulation side, we updated old, outmoded rules. These rules were written for jobs such as “key punch operator” that aren’t relevant any more. These rules stymied productivity and made compliance nearly impossible, while doing little to protect workers.
You might have also heard about our efforts to update union financial disclosure regulations for the first time in over 40 years. Our new disclosure rules have helped rank-and-file members better understand where their dues are being spent.
This is only a partial list. The bottom line is that we have worked to be pro-worker without strangling the workplaces that employ them. And we’ve done that because to ride out tough times and stay well positioned for future growth, it is vital that the Labor Department not push regulations that impede job growth.
Congratulations to Secretary Chao and the many good people at the Department of Labor. A job well done.
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