Because candidate Trump criticized noxious free-trade agreements that Democratic and Republican presidents have advanced, there were many workers who imagined he was on their side. Some still do.
But Trump will not deliver for working people on this or any other Labor Day. He has made that plain by assembling an administration that is packed with political grifters who have made it their business to defend sweatshops, depress wages and tip every balance toward multi-national corporations.
In many cases, Trump’s picks are worse than Trump—and that’s saying a lot.
Trump’s National Labor Relations Board picks—Marvin Kaplan and William Emanuel—have been greeted with scorn by advocates for a living wage and workplace fairness. As Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren explained to Emanuel during his confirmation hearing: “You have spent your career at one of the country’s most ruthless, union-busting law firms in the country. How can Americans trust you will protect workers rights when you’ve spent 40 years fighting against them?”
Trump’s Secretary of Labor, Alexander Acosta, has a miserable history of aligning with right-wing and corporate interests. After law school, Acosta clerked for US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit Judge Samuel Alito. Alito is now the US Supreme Court’s aggressive foe of worker rights. Acosta, who served briefly as a George W. Bush appointee to the National Labor Relations Board, went on to face harsh criticism for the partisanship he displayed on voting rights cases while leading the US Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division.
As Labor Secretary, Acosta has remained on the wrong side. Just weeks ago, he appeared before the annual gathering of the militantly anti-labor American Legislative Exchange Council—along with anti-union zealot Betsy DeVos, Trump’s secretary of education.
Trump’s pick to serve as deputy secretary of labor, Patrick Pizzella, has an even more troubling record than Acosta. A former campaign staffer for Ronald Reagan who has served in Republican and Democratic administrations, Pizzella was once employed by the viscerally anti-union National Right to Work Committee and later joined the firm that scandal-plagued lobbyist Jack Abramoff was associated with before his 2006 conviction on federal charges that included attempted bribery.
As if that wasn't enough, there's more. There's always more.
Trump wanted to make sure that the American workers see him flipping them the bird and screaming, "F**k you!"
So he decided to put Ronnie Raygun in the Labor Hall of Fame:
Former President Ronald Reagan, a one-time Hollywood union leader who fired 11,000 air traffic controllers and crushed their union, will be inducted into the Labor Department’s Labor Hall of Honor.
Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta made the announcement Thursday at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library & Museum in Simi Valley, California.
The honor is for Americans who improved working conditions, wages and quality of life for families.
However, as U.S. president in 1981, Reagan fired striking air traffic controllers, banned them from government jobs for life and decertified their union. A new union was only formed years later.
When Candidate Trump said that the American Worker was getting crushed, I thought it was political rhetoric, not a warning.