Policy: Labor

Angry labor union seeks to oust Obama’s acting Labor Secretary

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Joel Gehrke,Labor unions,Labor

Union workers are trying to create “change we believe in” at the top of the Labor Department by generating grassroots pressure to oust the acting secretary who has taken charge of the department since Hilda Solis’ departure.

“[T]here was general consternation about the fact that Seth Harris is Acting Secretary of Labor when he is mostly responsible for the Department’s 16th out of 19th ranking in the Best Places to Work in Government which was recently published,” Alex Bastani, president of the local 12 chapter of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), reported to the full union chapter in an email obtained by The Washington Examiner.

“I believe it is fair to say the consensus was that most employees are concerned with the morale of the Department if Mr. Harris and Assistant Secretary Kerr remain in positions of power,” Bastani added.

This is the same union chapter that announced, in May, that it would file a complaint against the Labor Department for raising their parking rates. “We will also explore whether a class action can be filed pursuant to the Rehabilitation Act for those employees who are disabled and park in the Frances Perkins Building Garage,” Bastani wrote at the time, as The Examiner reported.

Bastani hopes to begin the movement to get rid of Harris by pestering him about that issue, among others. “One of our members who attended this meeting suggested afterwards that employees submit question to Acting Secretary Harris about our low ranking in the Best Places to Work in the Government,  or managers taking bonus pool money for themselves, or the attempt to contract out parking,” he said, adding that “if hundreds of you write, we can be the change we believe in.”

Here is the full email:

Dear Members:

 

At our meeting today, of about fifty members, there was general consternation about the fact that Seth Harris is Acting Secretary of Labor when he is mostly responsible for the Department’s 16th out of 19th ranking in the Best Places to Work in Government which was recently published. (The Department ranked in the middle of the pack during the Chao administration. ) I believe it is fair to say the consensus was that most employees are concerned with the morale of the Department if Mr. Harris and Assistant Secretary Kerr remain in positions of power.

 

One of our members who attended this meeting suggested afterwards that employees submit question to Acting Secretary Harris about our low ranking in the Best Places to Work in the Government,  or managers taking bonus pool money for themselves, or the attempt to contract out parking. I think that is a wonderful ideal.

 

I strongly encourage you to follow up with Acting Secretary Harris about issues of morale. If only a few employees write, then nothing will change. But if hundreds of you write, we can be the change we believe in.

 

In Solidarity,

 

Alex Bastani

 

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