Policy: Labor

Labor Department union boss: We were happier under Bush

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Joel Gehrke,Labor unions,Labor,George W. Bush

“Why did you lead us out of Egypt?” the Labor Department union boss, who recalls happier times under President George W. Bush, must wonder when he looks at a picture of President Obama.

The local 12 chapter of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) is so frustrated with the political  appointees at the top of the Labor Department that they are now reduced to pining for the Bush years.

“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,” chapter president Alex Bastani wrote in an email to union members obtained by The Washington Examiner. “(The Department ranked in the middle of the pack during the Chao administration.)”

Elaine Chao served as Bush’s Labor Secretary through both of his terms, where she ran “the most successfully conservative Cabinet department” of the Bush years, NRO’s Ramesh Ponnuru commented today.

Among other things, the AFGE chapter is angry about having their parking rates increased as the department lets a private contractor take over the lots. “The eventual contractor will charge ‘slightly below’ the average Washington rate of ‘$220 to $260/month,’” The Examiner’s Paul Bedard quoted a Labor Department official as saying.

In May, The Examiner reported that Bastani told members that the union would file “a complaint with the Federal Service Impasses Panel requesting an order that the United States Department of Labor be compelled to bargain with us over its decision to contract out the parking, [and the] increase in rates,” adding that the union might also file a class action lawsuit over the issue.

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