New York, NY – Post-Janus, the toxicity of having Donald Trump in the White House could not be any clearer. That said, working men and women contending with Trump’s corrosive anti-worker policies have an even bigger problem: too many of their brethren continue to support him.
In 2016, the Washington Post argued that Donald Trump had actually garnered “Reagan-like support” from union households in the last Presidential Election. This past May, a Reuters-Ipsos poll concluded that Trump’s support among union workers had fallen 15 points over the previous year.
Considering Trump appointees from the United State Supreme Court to the National Labor Relations Board spend their days gleefully clubbing Organized Labor in new and devious ways — one might expect that drop to be a lot more precipitous than that. But that’s simply not the case.
Just a couple of casual examples: despite having both 32BJ and 1199SEIU as anchors for last week’s rally against Trump’s heinous policy of snatching immigrant children from their parents at the border, union visibility at the Cadman Plaza Park demonstration was, to say the least, not what it could have been. And even more casual, but also telling, LaborPress Tweets routinely highlighting Trump’s hypocrisy on worker rights, more often than not, receive..ahem…tepid support.
Talk to union leaders and they will consistently say that they will support whoever brings home the bacon for their members. And like it or not, Organized Labor is still contenting with rank & file revulsion to Clintonian Democrats and the legacy of NAFTA.
Trump continues to hang ten on that wave of revulsion — while mercilessly exploiting a misplaced “America first” mentality born of an ongoing anger toward an economy that succeeds only in making the fat cats fatter.
Last March, Leo Gerard, head of the United Steelworkers, told LaborPress’ Blue Collar Buzz that some 3,000 idle steelworkers were expected to be called back to work as a result of Trump tariffs on foreign steel and aluminum.
Economist Richard Wolff, however, calls Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs nothing more than “political fiction”, meant to manipulate people into believing that sort of economic protectionism doesn’t also lead to job losses in other sectors of the economy.
“Any honest economist will tell you, we can’t tell you in advance whether the jobs gained in the industries you are protecting will be more or less than the jobs lost in the industries negatively affected by the rising prices that protected firms can impose,” Wolff said on a recent episode of “Economic Update.”
Any honest economist will tell you we can’t tell you in advance whether the jobs gained in the industries you are protecting will be more or less than the jobs lost in the industries negatively affected by the rising prices that protected firms can impose – Economist Richard Wolff.
Now, however, the progressive, pro-worker wave that propelled Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’ stunning victory over entrenched incumbent Joe Crowley [D-14th District] gives Organized Labor another chance to rally rank & file members around candidates outside the regular kennel of centrist corporate Dems.
But will they?
“There’s nothing wrong with being a Progressive — and the country is speaking that in volumes,” DC1707 Executive Director Kim Medina recently told LaborPress’ Blue Collar Buzz.
The Bronx native, once again, said what matters most to her members is a fair workplace and the ability to provide for their families.
“We need new challengers — we need new armor bearers for Labor,” Medina added. “It’s about checks and balances, doing the right thing, being transparent, and speaking openly. And when we have more people who are like that, whether they’re a Republican, or an Independent or whether they’re Progressive…it is now telling the Democratic Party: we can no longer go along to get along.”