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Letter to Elaine Chao, Secretary, U.S. Department of Labor - Women's Bureau of the Department of Labor

Letter to The Honorable Elaine Chao, Secretary, U.S. Department of Labor

September 8, 2006

The Honorable Elaine Chao, Secretary
U.S. Department of Labor
200 Constitution Ave. NW
Washington , D.C. 20210

Dear Secretary Chao,

We are writing to express our concerns about the recently proposed plans to weaken the vital role of the Women's Bureau of the Department of Labor by significantly reducing the number of career positions in the Bureau's national office. We urge you to renew your support of this important agency.

As the only federal agency devoted solely to the concerns of women in the workplace for more than eighty years, the mission of the Women's Bureau is unique. As such, we believe that Women's Bureau positions are best filled by career staff, dedicated to the work of the Bureau with specialized knowledge of the issues facing women in the labor force and familiarity with the Bureau's history and mission. We are troubled to learn of your plan to outsource almost half of the career positions at the Women's Bureau's national office. If implemented, such action would result in a significant loss of institutional knowledge for the Women's Bureau and would considerably reduce the Bureau's effectiveness.

In addition, we have learned that as regional administrator positions have become vacant in the ten regional offices, these positions have not been filled - with remaining regional administrators currently managing more than one region. As you well know, the regional offices of the Bureau play a crucial role in ensuring that women across the nation are aware of their legal protections against potential abuses in the workplace, as well as provide key guidance to women seeking employment. Making regional administrators responsible for additional states undermines their ability to effectively perform this role by stretching their staff resources thin.

Secretary Chao, we all agree that improving the working conditions and expanding the number of opportunities for employment for all women are among the most critical responsibilities of the Department of Labor. In our judgment, weakening the capacity of the Women' Bureau to assist in this goal runs counter to this shared priority. That is why we respectfully ask that you reconsider the Department's proposed plan to outsource permanent positions at the Bureau and work toward filling any vacant positions at Bureau's regional offices.

We appreciate the work that the Department of Labor does to support America 's working women, and we look forward to your leadership in ensuring that women are full participants in today's economy through the revitalization of the Women's Bureau. Thank you for your attention to this matter and we look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

ROSA L. DeLAURO HILDA L. SOLIS NANCY PELOSI
SHERROD BROWN ELLIOT ENGEL ELIJAH CUMMINGS

TAMMY BALDWIN JIM OBERSTAR MICHAEL CAPUANO

MADELEINE BORDALLO GWEN MOORE JOHN DINGELL

CAROLYN MALONEY HOWARD BERMAN CAROLYN C. KILPATRICK

DONALD PAYNE LOUISE SLAUGHTER RAúL GRIJALVA

SHEILA JACKSON-LEE DONNA M. CHRISTENSEN JAN SCHAKOWSKY

LOIS CAPPS ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON CAROLYN McCARTHY
BERNIE SANDERS JERROLD NADLER MIKE DOYLE

JOSE SERRANO BARBARA LEE EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON

RUSH HOLT PETER DeFAZIO EDOLPHUS TOWNS

RON KIND LINDA SANCHEZ JOHN OLVER

MIKE HONDA ALLYSON SCHWARTZ BETTY McCOLLUM

CHAKA FATTAH LYNN WOOLSEY SAM FARR

ROBERT BRADY MAJOR OWENS MAURICE HINCHEY

DORIS MATSUI NITA LOWEY DENNIS KUCINICH

MARCY KAPTUR SHELLEY BERKLEY ROBERT WEXLER

JIM McDERMOTT DENNIS MOORE BRIAN HIGGINGS

Earl Blumenauer Corrine Brown James Clyburn
en O. Tauscher Marion Berry Edward J. Markey

Darlene Hooley Alcee L. Hastings John B. Larson

Diana DeGette Debbie Wasserman-Schultz Chris Van Hollen

Susan A. Davis William D. Delahunt George Miller

James P. McGovern Nydia M. Velazquez Vic Snyder

Barney Frank Steve Israel Rahm Emanuel

Tim Ryan Gary L. Ackerman Anna G. Eshoo

Loretta Sanchez David Wu Henry Waxman

Sheila Jackson Lee Neil Abercrombie Emanuel Cleaver

David Obey Stephen F. Lynch Steny H. Hoyer

Diane E. Watson Frank Pallone Melvin L. Watt

Zoe Lofgren Julia Carson David Price

Dennis Cardoza Gregory W. Meeks James P. Moran

Brad Sherman Paul E. Kanjorski Wm. Lacy Clay

Bart Gordon Robert Andrews Bobby Scott


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