OPINION: 10 things Trump has done to hurt workers

With one year left in Trump’s term, here are 10 things that prove he is no friend of unions


Since President Donald Trump took office in 2017 he has been at war with Organized Labor. Yet even after all of his attacks on Labor, union members still support him. With Trump running for re-election in 2020, here are 10 things that Trump has done to hurt Labor. The list is not in order of importance since all of these issues have had a profound impact on unions.

10. Appointments to the National Labor Relations Board: Trump has used the NLRB as his own personal attack dogs against unions. He nominated employer side lawyers, including a PATCO strikebreaker. Just some of the decisions they have made include deciding that McDonald’s is not a joint employer, repealing the Obama era union election rules, attempting to make Scabby illegal and consistently siding with management over the workers.

9. Making it more dangerous to go to work: To get rid of “onerous” safety regulations, Trump has gotten rid of several OSHA safety standards and reduced the number of investigations that OSHA is taking part in. The result has been an increase in workplace deaths.

8. Trump’s Twitter feuds with Labor leaders: No one is immune from Trump’s Twitter tirades. When GM announced closures, Trump attacked the local UAW leader and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. He even blamed union dues for the closure. Trumka has been a frequent target of Trump’s, being attacked on the last two Labor Days.

7. A tax plan that encourages outsourcing: Trump’s big “accomplishment” was passing a tax reform bill that incentivized companies to send jobs overseas. According to the AFL-CIO in Trump’s first year in office 93,000 jobs were outsourced.

6. Government Lockout: Trump has done a lot to hurt federal workers and many of his decisions will come up in the next few points. One of his most damaging was the government shutdown of 2018-19. The shutdown locked federal workers out for 35 days. It only ended when essential employees at the airports began refusing to come to work. The lockout was completely unnecessary as he locked out these workers over the holiday season because he didn’t get enough funding for his wall of hate at the border.

5. Support for ‘Right-to-Work’: This law is possibly the biggest threat to unions. A National Right-to-Work law has been introduced in the Senate and Trump has announced that if it comes to his desk, he will sign it. No supporter of Labor would support “right-to-work.”

4. Proposes ending federal pensions: In Trump’s 2019 budget he proposed massive cuts to federal workers including ending their defined benefits pension plan and freezing wages. Thankfully after this leaked Trump backed off the proposal. However, a proposal is currently making its way through Congress, with Republican support, that would do significant damage to both public and private sector workers’ pensions.

3. Actively union-busting: Thanks to three executive orders (check out No. 2 below for more information), Trump has used his agencies to attempt to break federal unions. At the Social Security Agency and the VA agency heads went into open warfare with their unions. At the Federal Labor Relations Authority, Trump has ordered the agency not to recognize the staff union. At the Department of Education, Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos were found guilty of union-busting after DeVos attempted to violate the department’s CBA.

2. Executive Orders: Trump has issued three executive orders that restrict federal unions’ ability to represent their members. Some of the provisions in the orders include reducing union release time and kicking unions out of their offices in government buildings.

1. Supreme Court picks. Trump’s two Supreme Court selections, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh were the deciding votes in the Janus v AFSCME case. This case brought “right-to-work” for all public employees nationwide. These justices will now serve as the deciding votes for years to come, potentially being the deciding votes on several Labor cases, including forcing unions to pay back dues to members who opt-out and a national “right-to-work” law for the private sector.

These are just 10 things that Trump has done to hurt unions. His actions clearly show that he has no love for Organized Labor and that he is actively working to weaken and destroy workers’ voices on the job.

I hope that all of our union members are ready to work hard in 2020 to ensure that Trump does not get re-elected. Our unions and our jobs are at stake.

(Kris LaGrange is the head of UCOMM Communication, a labor focused communications firm specializing in internal and external communications for local unions and labor councils. Reprinted from the UCOMM Blog.)

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