Workers of the World, You Write!

* A new Labor Day tradition? Just like last year, when Alexis Herman fired off a complaint to GQ Editor in Chief Art Cooper for publicly dissing the federal holiday, the labor secretary is tangling with another slick Conde Nast magazine over insults to the celebration of American workers. "A holiday so lackluster that even Hallmark can't figure out a way to make a buck off of it," Mark Golin kvetched in his September editor's letter in sex-obsessed, young-male-oriented Details magazine. "Labor, labor, labor. It sounds like a surplus communist holiday."

Yesterday Herman faxed Golin a tart expression of her "disappointment"--in which she proposed the text for a Labor Day greeting card: "Roses are red . . . Violets are blue . . . You got a three-day weekend . . . Lucky, lucky you! . . . "

Having perused Herman's effort, the editor told us: "Alexis has got a good sense of humor. Maybe we can get her to write an article about workplace sex."

THIS JUST IN . . .

* Congress returns from recess today, not a moment too soon. Reps. Peter King (R-N.Y.) and Marty Meehan (D-Mass.) were in Boston yesterday, strolling around, debating the issues of the day on radio and television and, well, here's what King--who was in Beantown promoting "Terrible Beauty," his novel about Northern Ireland --told The Post's Juliet Eilperin: "We're going to attack each other and go out and get drunk together."

* Weird couplings: Future New York resident Hillary Rodham Clinton and Eduard Shevardnadze, president of the former Soviet Republic of Georgia, receiving the National Democracy Institute's W. Averell Harriman award Sept. 23 at the Washington Hilton. And quintuple bypass-angioplasty patient Larry King and buff Latin heartthrob Ricky Martin headlining a Larry King Cardiac Foundation fund-raiser Nov. 2 at the Four Seasons. "I understand he's a big fan of mine," the CNN gabman told us.

* Getting Steve Forbes's goat? Saturday, at the 200-acre Marion, S.C., farm owned by the family of black conservative activist Armstrong Williams, the Republican presidential candidate's stump speech was upstaged by escaped goat Billy, who broke out of his pen and tried to run away just as Forbes was decrying federal pork. "Everybody, even the mayor of Myrtle Beach, was chasing after him," Williams told us, adding that brother Bruce Williams captured Billy as Forbes talked on.

* GOP presidential contender Elizabeth Dole has a new bangs-free, unpoufy coiffure. "She does have a softer look; her hair's a little flatter," says an aide. A Dole friend confided that the do is about a month old. "It's not only softer, it is easier to maintain. I think she looks much more modern." No official comment from the Dole campaign.

Dualing Domingos: Father and Son

Star tenor Placido Domingo, the 58-year-old artistic director of the Washington Opera, and his 30-year-old son, film producer Alvaro, plan to be there for each other Tuesday night when both have competing commitments at the Kennedy Center. While the elder Domingo is receiving the 1999 Hispanic Heritage Award at the Opera House, the younger Domingo will be down the hall at the AFI Theater, opening his historical drama, "The Other Conquest," at the Latin American Film Festival. The whole operation will require precise timing.

"My father will come to the presentation of my film at 6:30," Alvaro told us yesterday. "He'll be there with us and say a few words. Then he'll rush to the other hall to receive his award and attend the award dinner. I will, as soon as possible, join him."

Alvaro's Spanish-language film--which was six years and $4 million in the making--dramatizes the clash of cultures that took place between Spaniards and Aztecs during the 16th-century conquest of Mexico. Alvaro had help from Dad: Placido is an associate producer and during the closing credits sings an aria, "Mater Aeterna," especially composed for the film. The movie, which drew record audiences in Mexico last spring, will be released here in November.

The simultaneous Kennedy Center events are "pure coincidence and a wonderful surprise," Placido told us in a faxed statement. "I was first approached about the Hispanic Heritage Award a number of years ago, and annually since, but it was only this year that my schedule permitted me to be personally in Washington to accept this distinguished honor."