October 7, 2019

Barbie, er, I mean Ivanka Trump (sorry, all that plastic gets me confused sometimes) appeared on the Fox Business Network where Trish Regan asked her the softball question of what her thoughts were about her daddy abut to be impeached.

Ivanka's well-scripted and well-rehearsed reply was to the effect that it was all about priorities, and how her Daddy's priorities were about fighting for the American workers and to improve the life of every person living in this country.

Now, I could go on and write forever about the stagnant job growth, the shrinking of wages, all the layoffs and all the businesses going out of business. I could also go on forever about how her Daddy wants to cut Medicare for tens of millions of Americans, the below living wages, the need for multiple jobs just to make ends meet and or the tax scam that raised taxes on everyone but the ultrarich.

I could, but I won't. Instead, I'll just focus on one bit of recent news. Trump has a plan on his desk on how to divide and conquer the American workers:

A senior White House labor adviser encouraged President Donald Trump to eliminate all job protections for federal workers and a requirement that federal contractors provide paid sick leave for employees, according to an internal memo obtained by POLITICO.

The document, written in 2017 by James Sherk, a White House domestic policy aide who was previously a research fellow at the right-leaning Heritage Foundation, said the president should pursue a “non-traditional labor legislative agenda” that would sideline union leaders.

To those of us in Wisconsin, the details are eerily familiar to what we experienced under Scott Walker:

Over the past two years, Trump’s rhetoric on unions has echoed Sherk’s recommendations. He has repeatedly bashed labor leaders as greedy opportunists; at rallies across the country and on Twitter, the president has complained about the price of union dues, criticized the leader of the AFL-CIO, and said union leaders “rip-off their membership … But the members love Trump.”

The memo suggested Trump “prominently support legislation that aims to improve private-sector union representation instead of curtailing it. These proposals would be difficult for union executives to oppose and help brand the President a supporter of union members.”

Among the union recommendations, the memo encouraged Trump to support legislation to address state “Right-to-Work” laws by giving unions the option to represent only those workers who pay collective bargaining fees. The change would “allow the president to eliminate a major union complaint without coercing workers to pay dues,” the memo says.

The memo also calls for abolishing civil service protections and collective bargaining for federal employees, undoing prevailing wage laws for the building trades, and make it more difficult to get unemployment insurance.

Some measures in the plan have already been taken, such as protecting businesses from labor laws and changing overtime rules.

As I said, if this sounds familiar, it is because it is very similar to what Walker did to Wisconsin. Walker first cut collecting bargaining for all public employees, including public school teachers, while protecting the police and firefighter unions and promising not to touch private sector workers rights. Four years later, after specifically promising that right to work was not on his agenda, he passed that law, cut prevailing wages and changed the unemployment insurance laws.

In fact, Walker met with Trump to discuss how to do the same thing on a national level.

If there was no other reason to vote Trump out, presuming he's even still in office, next year, this should be enough for all American workers, union or not.

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