The Monday after he was sworn in as Pr*sident, Donald Trump met first with CEOs of large corporations. Then, later in the day, he met with union leaders. The “Daily Guidance” issued by the White House the night before described the meeting as a “listening session with Union Leaders and American Workers.” A revised schedule sent around 10 a.m. on Monday dropped the union part and called it a “listening session with the American Workers.”
The pool reporters who follow the president were brought in at the beginning of the meeting where Pr*sident Trump announce he was officially terminating the Trans Pacific Partnership, a much-maligned trade agreement that a wide array of groups hated. During the meeting, Trump stated, “This is a group I know well. I’ve hired thousands and thousands of you.” It was a reminder, of course, of who is in charge when it comes workers. And it’s certainly not the workers themselves.
As the pool was being escorted out so that Trump could converse privately with the union leaders, Doug McCarron of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters, started to say something positive about Trump’s inauguration speech. Trump stopped him and shouted to the departing reporters, “Hey, press! Get back in here!” He then made McCarron start over and repeat his praise of the president, saying his speech “hit home for the people who have been hurting.”
After the meeting, the reporters were brought back in where they found the union leaders gathered around Trump who was seated at his desk. Once the reporters were assembled, Trump asked the union leaders how the meeting when and received a chorus of “excellent meeting” from those around him.
Through the use of flattery and access, Donald Trump was able to use the union leaders to “prove” he’s a friend of labor.
Make no mistake: Donald J. Trump is NOT a friend of labor, of labor unions, or of workers, in general. Don’t forget, he’s the man who claimed that Detroit autoworkers make too much money.
Here’s some proof: Another thing that happened shortly after he took office is that Trump appointed Philip Miscimarra, a member of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) since 2013, to serve as Acting Chair. Miscimarra is the only Republican on the NLRB and is in frequent opposition to the pro-labor stances taken by his colleagues. There are two vacancies on the NLRB which Trump will soon fill. Keep in mind that Republicans used the filibuster to prevent the filling of vacancies on the NLRB during President Obama’s time in office, forcing him to use recess appointments in 2012. Those appointments were later deemed unconstitutional and, after being aggressively lobbied by the White House, Senate Republicans did eventually some of the spots to be filled. Advancing Miscimarra to the leadership role and the eventual domination of the NLRB by Republicans is a blow against workers in America.
Another position on the NLRB is that of General Counsel, essentially the prosecutor for the NLRB. This past week, the current General Counsel Richard Griffin issued a memo stating that football players at private colleges and universities should be able to form a union. Following the lead of Steve Bannon’s declaration that “the media” should “keep its mouth shut”, Republicans Virginia Foxx and Tim Walberg issued a joint statement saying that he should rescind his memo:
Last November, the American people demanded real change from Washington. They rejected the failed status quo that puts powerful special interests before the best interests of working families and small businesses. Richard Griffin is refusing to accept the lessons of the last election.
This partisan memorandum puts the interests of union leaders over America’s students, and it has the potential to create significant confusion at college campuses across the nation. It’s an affront to hardworking Americans for Griffin to double down on his extreme, Big Labor agenda, especially at a time when a new president is entitled to move the NLRB in a new direction.
Griffin should respect the will of the American people and rescind this memorandum immediately. If he is unwilling to set aside his extreme and partisan agenda, then he should step aside as general counsel.
And, don’t forget that Trump’s choice for Secretary of Labor, Andrew Puzder, has made a career out of exploiting minimum wage workers as the head of the company that owns Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. fast food restaurants.
I implore my union brothers and sisters to resist the temptation to see Pr*sident Trump as in any way a friend to labor. He may throw you a bone from time to time and heap you with flattery if it suits his interests. But, at the end of the day, you will be screwed over royally by him and, if we don’t stop it, the entire country will be under federal “right to work” laws.