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How Trump's White House Failed the American Worker

IBEW puts out a list of attacks to would-be union Trump voters

Kris LaGrange's picture
Oct 26, 2020

With a week to go until election day, unions across this nation are doing their best to talk sense into some of their members who still plan on voting for Trump. The organized labor vote is not as strong as it used to be, a fact that few in the labor top brass will ever admit. The 53 million people who voted early come from a quandary of different backgrounds. They include young voters who watched their schools become shooting ranges, black voters who experienced an onslaught of police brutality over the last 4 years, the family of victims of an avoidable pandemic and educated women whose vote is seen as a marginal commodity to the leaderless and hypocritical conservative Republican elite. Below you will see how good union leaders are doing their best to educate their ranks. Their efforts are both worthy of praise and recognition.

As a candidate, Donald Trump said he would put American workers first, but as President, he has undermined workers' rights, made workers less safe on the job and made it harder for working families to get ahead. The Trump Administration has time and again placed the interests of corporations and the wealthy ahead of the interests of working men and women.

Harm to Workers' Pocketbooks
  •  Derailed a pre-existing rule expanding overtime pay protections and replaced it with a watered-down substitute preferred by employers, resulting in over 3 million fewer workers being able to earn overtime pay, including roughly 125,000 in Pennsylvania.
     
  • Eliminated workers' tax deduction for union dues and out-of-pocket costs for tools, travel, uniforms and job search expenses while slashing taxes for large corporations and the wealthy in the 2017 Republican tax bill signed into law by Donald Trump.
     
  • Attempted to implement a rule that would have allowed employers to pocket workers' tips and which could have cost workers billions per year in lost wages.
     
  • Took no action to raise minimum wage and workers are now experiencing the longest gap between federal minimum wage increases since its creation.
     
  • Gave large profitable corporations an obscene tax cut without requiring companies increase worker wages. Companies used their Trump tax windfall for over $1 trillion in stock buybacks -- the equivalent of $6,000 for every worker in America.

Failure to Respond to COVID-19

  • Refused to issue Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) or Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) Emergency Temporary Standards that would put in place enforceable safety standards to protect workers at risk of exposure to the virus.
     
  • Lack of a coordinated federal response has left many workers struggling to access needed personal protective equipment (PPE) and worsened the human and economic toll of the virus unnecessarily.
Assault on Workers' Rights
  • Appointed an anti-worker National Labor Relations Board majority that is systematically weakening workers' rights by, for example, making it easier to misclassify workers as independent contractors, constraining how workers can organize and protest and giving employers more unilateral power in bargaining.
     
  • Made it easier for companies to hide anti-union legal activities by rescinding the Department of Labor's Persuader Rule that would have required employers and their hired consultants to report behind the scenes anti-union actions.
     
  • Issued rules enabling large corporations to avoid responsibility for workers' treatment including Department of Labor rules that would make it easier to classify workers as independent contractors and that would make it harder to hold companies liable for violations of wage and hour laws by franchisees and contractors.
     
  • Relentlessly undermined federal workers' rights by severely restricting union representatives' ability to advocate for their workers and negotiate on their behalf.
Weakening of Critical Safety Standards
  • Eliminated regulation requiring many employers to submit workplace injury and illness information to OSHA to publish online, making it more difficult to identify injury trends and helping employers avoid accountability.
     
  • Delayed or halted multiple critical safety regulations and reversed a ban on toxic agricultural pesticides that pose a threat to farm workers' health.
     
  • Allowed companies breaking labor laws to get federal contracts by eliminating the Fair Pay Safe Workplaces regulation that was put in place to prevent contractors who repeatedly violate workplace laws from getting federal business .
     
  • Decreased workplace safety inspections and allowed the number of OSHA inspectors to fall to the lowest level in 45 years.
Appointment of Anti-Labor Judges
  • Appointed two judges to Supreme Court creating a pro-corporate majority that has already stripped public-sector unions of their ability to collect fair share fees in Janus v. AFSCME and allowed employers to force mandatory arbitration agreements on workers in Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis, in addition to other anti-worker rulings.
     
  • Gave judges with anti-labor records lifetime appointments throughout the federal judiciary and relied on anti-worker organizations like the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation, which has referred to unions as "cartels," to put forward judicial nominees.

Bottom line: Donald Trump is a corporate President, plain and simple. Corporate interests will next challenge the right to organize a union.

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