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UCOMM

We Need Two New Presidents

We can get rid of the jackass if organized labor puts in a workhorse

Kris LaGrange's picture
Aug 02, 2018

I feel stupid even talking about this, but it must be addressed. Newsmax reported, and Fox News and a host of other news outlets later recycled - that the very weathered AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka is keeping an open mind towards an AFL-CIO endorsement of Trump in 2020. What the F*ck?! 

Keep in mind my fellow unionist that this is our new reality now; Mexican children are being ripped from their parents arms like animals, violence against journalist at Trump rallies is common, activists like North Carolina’s Heather Heyer are being run down by Klansman and murdered, Janus made all public sector jobs open shop and prevailing wages have been rescinded in multiple states across the country. This is all under Trump since he took office. The staff at the AFL-CIO must be on drugs.

In anger of hearing Trumka’s ridiculous comment,  Randi Weingarten -  the elected President of the 1.6 million-member American Federation of Teachers (AFT) went to Twitter and made her voice heard. In what could be argued as a rash judgment call, “America’s Teacher” called out Trumka for even considering an AFL-CIO endorsement. I like Randi, and most people who have met her personally share in this sentiment.

But here is the story behind the story, it doesn’t really matter what Trumka thinks. Trumka’s poor leadership, along with the help of Russian intelligence and Zuckerberg’s Facebook – gave us the worst “President” in American history. However, it does matter what the AFT’s Randi Weingarten thinks. The AFL-CIO can’t make an endorsement without the approval of their affiliates. Of course, one of their best affiliates is the AFT, which Weingarten leads. The opinions of the other 54 other International Presidents matter as well.

A buddy of mine still blames Randi for Trump, claiming that the AFT’s super-duper early endorsement of Hillary Clinton didn’t sit well with the average disconnected union teacher. I don’t buy that argument, Weingarten has turned union teachers around. It used to be that teachers unions were a joke. Now they are a force to be reckoned with. They strike, they organize and they lead in almost every labor market in the nation. So for Trumka to be spanked on Twitter by its leader is newsworthy enough for a lengthy UCOMM Blog post.

Let’s defend the AFL-CIO for a second. They will not endorse someone who they don’t hear from or screen. That’s the rule. This endorsement process is so beyond their comprehension at Fox News. For them to even report this rift is an insult to all true trade unionist and it is what it is. This is an attempt by News Corp to discredit organized labor’s voice in DC. Their headline says it all – they called Randi a boss. Don’t ever call a union leader a boss. If I catch you saying that, I will throw my shoe at you.

So yes, it is true that 42% of union members childishly voted for Trump; and how were they rewarded? They were given the gift of Right to Work through Mark Janus. Public employees like teachers, cops, and firefighters, drunk on their lust for political entertaining, still have no clue of the long-term implications of the Janus decision decreasing their bargaining power. 42% of them deserve this, but 58% of them do not. It hurts, and I’m trying to cope with it just like you are. Some good union jobs are wasted on crappy members. It’s our reality.

I have said it a few times that Trumka needs to go. Maybe this Fox News story is just what the doctor ordered. Maybe labor leaders are realizing that in this era of Trump, we need younger, better and stronger leadership in DC. I have been criticized by friends who say that now is the time for unity in the American Union Movement. But that plea is a tough pill to swallow while the world we built up for the past 8 years is crumbling down all around us. Now is the time for new leadership at the AFL-CIO. Is Randi Weingarten the person to take over?  Probably not.  The theory and concept of Public education is under attack at every level and Randi should stay where she is to defend it.

Fox News took Trumka’s words and created their own headline and own facts like they always do, Trumka was just reiterating the process and stating facts. Union leader Chris Erikson, Jr. of Local 3 of the IBEW in New York had this to say on Trumka’s comments:

“It’s been clear from day 1 of this Presidency that Trump is not pro-worker at all. His rhetoric does not match up and hopefully, the AFL knows he is constantly working against us. It’s important that we elect people that are going to enact policies that benefit working families and the AFL-CIO knows that.” Well said sir, well said.

I will tell you this though, if the AFL-CIO endorses Trump in 2020 it will be the end of the American union movement as we know it. The Building Trades, a major part of the AFL-CIO structure, as a whole sometimes do foolish things. They endorse Republicans who claim to be pro-union over one single issue; Davis Bacon. This is common all across the country.  When you only care about one issue, like building union, then all other issues fall to the wayside. Prevailing wages are important, but so is Public Education, OSHA safety standards and the right to organize. Collective Bargaining as a whole cannot exist unless all 4 of those issues are made a top priority by the AFL-CIO.

An endorsement of Donald Trump for President by the AFL-CIO is ludicrous. It’s like Hitler being invited to your kids Bah Mitzvah, or David Duke receiving the coveted NAACP Image Award. Trumka’s words got twisted and his leaders made it clear that Trump’s re-election is not a good idea at all. We need two new Presidents. One at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, and one down the street at 815 16th Street. We can get rid of the ass at 1600 if we put in a  workhorse at 815 first.

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