Law and Politics

Trump’s Mentor Was ’50s Union-Buster

November 9, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel 

Roy Cohn & Donald Trump

New York, NY – Donald Trump’s mentor during his rise to celebrity status in the 1970s and 1980s was the late Roy Cohn, a lawyer and New York City power broker.

Cohn made his name in the 1950s as chief counsel to Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R-Wisc.) in his witch-hunt against Communists and imagined Communists, particularly in trying to purge labor unions of left-wing officials. One of their main targets was the United Electrical Workers, which had staged a massive strike at General Electric and Westinghouse in 1946. In 1952, Cohn, in coordination with the two companies, tried to get the National Labor Relations Board to revoke UE’s certification as a collective-bargaining organization, claiming that two union officials had lied when they signed affidavits that they were not Communists, as required by the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947. McCarthy and Cohn also scheduled hearings investigating UE’s alleged “Red ties” in cities where the union was competing with a rival union in an election for representation. The UE, which had 500,000 members at the end of Word War II, is now less that one-tenth that size. Read more

November 8, 2016

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