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Letter to the Honorable Elaine L. Chao


Location: Washington, DC

Obama, Durbin Ask Department of Labor to Help Laid Off Chrysler Workers

Today, Senators Barack Obama (D-IL) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) called on Department of Labor (DOL) Secretary Elaine Chao to immediately allow the 1,000 Chrysler workers who today lost their jobs in the Belvidere, IL plant to access the full range of DOL programs and services that are available to them. Obama and Durbin urged Chao to rapidly respond to the needs of these laid off workers and their families, and make it easy for them to understand the assistance they can call on to find new jobs during this difficult time.

"These workers and their families who woke up today and found out they are without a job deserve our help," Senator Obama said. "We are calling on Secretary Chao to get these families immediate assistance to help the displaced workers during this difficult time. These families and the Belvidere community need to know that their government is there when this kind of crisis hits, and I will continue to work with Senator Durbin to get these families the help they need."

"Losing a job is tough and can take a real toll on individuals and their families," said Durbin. "Senator Obama and I want to make sure that we are doing everything we can to make the transition into a new job as smooth as possible for the Chrysler workers in Belvidere."

Below is a copy of the letter:

November 1, 2007

The Honorable Elaine L. Chao
United States Department of Labor
200 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20210

Dear Secretary Chao:

We are writing regarding Chrysler's decision to cut 1,000 workers in Belvidere, Illinois. This decision will significantly affect our state's suppliers and their workers, as well as hundreds of families in northern Illinois.

If Chrysler's plans go forward, the individuals in Illinois who will lose their jobs should have immediate access to the full range of federal programs and services, in addition to the benefits they will receive based on their collectively-bargained labor agreement with Chrysler. Specifically, we request that the Department help Chrysler employees understand their options by providing career counseling and job search assistance; information about unemployment insurance; opportunities for education and training; and information about their health benefits and pensions options.

We appreciate your timely consideration of this request. We look forward to working with you to provide them with the help they require.


Barack Obama
United States Senator

Richard J. Durbin
United States Senator

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