Letter - Labor Secretary Elaine Chao's Legacy of Harm

Thursday, January 1, 2009

The profile of Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao [In the Loop, Dec. 25] could have noted a major policy change by the Labor Department on Dec. 18 that revealed Ms. Chao's extreme ideological motivation and callousness toward the less fortunate.

Extensive new regulations under the H-2A agricultural guest-worker program take effect Jan. 17. Employers will be permitted to bring in foreign workers on work visas for lower wages and fewer benefits, with less obligation to recruit U.S. workers first and with less government oversight in a program already rife with abuse.

Ms. Chao's devotion to deregulation blinded her to 65 years of lessons under agricultural guest-worker programs and to a bipartisan, labor-management agreement in Congress, known as "AgJOBS," that would address these issues with balance. Her legacy is one of harm to the nation's lowest-paid workers.


Executive Director, Farmworker Justice


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