OPINION: The Trump administration’s war on Labor

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How Trump has attacked unions over the past three years

By DAVE WEIDLICH
President, CWA Local 1298 – New England

President Donald Trump has been dangerous for unions and working people. Since I know some members continue to support Trump, I want to lay out some of the things he and anti-Labor politicians have done and said to hurt our union and the larger Labor Movement. I want to be clear that my support and Local 1298 endorsements for political candidates are driven by Labor issues.

Since Trump was elected, he has had an antagonistic relationship with Labor leaders.

BLAMING UNION DUES FOR PLANT CLOSURES
When GM announced the closure of plants, Trump blamed union dues saying: “You’re paying too much dues,” Trump said to workers. “As an example, they [the UAW] could’ve kept General Motors. They could’ve kept it in that gorgeous plant at Lordstown. They could’ve kept it. Lower your dues. Lower your dues.”

This wasn’t the first time either that he has used his platform as President or his Twitter account to feud with labor leaders. He has attacked AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and had a very public feud with a United Steelworkers Local President as well.

INSTITUTING POLICIES DANGEROUS FOR WORKERS
Beyond Trump’s Twitter feuds, he has instituted some policies that have been very dangerous for workers. His appointments have been a disaster for working people. He has appointed management-side lawyers to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that have consistently ruled against working people. He even made a lawyer who helped the NLRB break the PATCO strike the board’s general counsel.

Trump’s other major appointment, Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, did even more damage for unions when he was the deciding vote in the Janus v AFSCME case. This case made so-called “right-to-work” (RTW) the law for the entire public sector. This means that public employees, including people represented under a CWA bargained collective bargaining agreement, could freeload and not pay dues while getting the same representation by the union.

Over the last three years, Trump has also made it tougher for unions to collect dues, his tax plan allowed over 142,000 jobs to be sent overseas, proposed ending federal pensions and has announced his support for a national RTW law for the private sector. Trump and his NLRB even want to make Scabby the Rat illegal!

WEAKENING WORKPLACE SAFETY PROTECTIONS
It’s not just our unions that have been hurt by Trump. Since he took office he has made serious cuts to OSHA, the agency tasked with keeping us safe on the job. These cuts mean that there are fewer inspectors making sure that your workplace is safe.

The simple fact is Trump has not only tried to weaken our unions, but he has made it less safe to go to work.

Voting, as always, is every member’s right. But I feel it is important to remind our members that elections have consequences. We are currently facing the challenges that come along with anti-Labor politicians.

 

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