Invite at the White House: Some labor unions over others

Sunday, May 7, 2017|4 p.m.

WASHINGTON– President Donald Trump says labor unions have an open door to his White Home, but so far, he’s holding the door a little more ajar for some organizations than others.

Trump has actually put out the welcome mat for the country’s construction trades, with whom he’s had relationships throughout decades of building workplace towers and hotels. Also welcomed in have actually been automobile, steel and coal workers who backed him during the 2016 election.

However there’s been no White House invite for other unions representing the sprawling but diminishing swimming pool of 14.6 million employees who collectively haggle with employers in the labor motion.

“You can tell Congress that America’s structure trades and its president are quite joined,” Trump informed North America’s Structure Trade Unions, even as he vowed in the exact same speech, “America’s labor leaders will always find an open door with Donald Trump.”

However he has actually not courted all union leaders or advocated for all labor top priorities. For example, he protests a $15-an-hour minimum wage and has actually let remain a rule expanding overtime pay. Just like President Ronald Reagan did, Trump is not a lot pursuing a labor program but one that attract those who share his “Buy American, Employ American” priorities and take place to be union members.

“Trump is clearly working to be the blue collar president,” stated F. Vincent Vernuccio, director of labor policy at the center-right not-for-profit Mackinac Center for Public law in Michigan. “He’s attempting to restore the Reagan labor coalition and get the Blue Canine Democrats back.”

The White Home says the president is “open up to consulting with various individuals and groups on how to improve the lives of all Americans.”

But even among unions with most-favored status, there’s some skepticism about whether he’s for employees or simply the executives who hire them.

Trump got some boos and hisses throughout his address to the building trades union. And Chuck Jones, president of United Steelworkers Local 1999, with whom Trump feuded, raises an eyebrow at the talk originating from the White Home.

“I do not think from our viewpoint, he’s a pal of the working class person,” Jones said, keeping in mind that Trump’s tax strategy would benefit the president himself, which Trump campaigned on “getting rid” of an enduring open market deal with Canada and Mexico. “Trump constantly had some sort of relationship with the building trades. But for routine manufacturing? This is not a great time for working people.”

The 2016 election suggests labor is fertile political ground for Trump. Exit surveys showed he pulled within 8 percentage points of Democrat Hillary Clinton amongst union members– a larger margin than any GOP candidate since Reagan in 1984.

Throughout his first 100 days, Trump has attempted to interest those irritated by seeing U.S. jobs go overseas. For instance, he scrapped U.S. strategies to participate in an Asia-Pacific trade pact and belittled the North American Free Trade Arrangement, although he retreated from a project promise to withdraw from it.

He’s taken to Twitter to slam American business with plans to move some operations to other countries and threatened to tax any products they tried to sell in the U.S. He’s pressed a hesitant Republican-controlled Congress to pay for a $1 trillion rebuilding of the country’s roadways and bridges, and he’s green-lighted the Keystone XL pipeline.

But while some unions have gotten the red carpet treatment, others have actually been largely neglected at the White Home.

Take instructors unions, traditional allies of Democrats. While Education Secretary Betsy DeVos signed up with Trump for White House sessions with instructors and other teachers, neither of the 2 big teachers unions– the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers– was invited. DeVos did accept an invitation from AFT President Randi Weingarten to tour a school in Ohio.

“Trump in New York was never ever associated with education. He was a blank slate on education,” Weingarten stated.

“The big test for him even on infrastructure is: Is he going to stop the Republicans in Congress from attempting to get the securities for prevailing wage,” she stated. “Is he really going to have adequate cash in there for projects?”

Trump is deciding on among labor unions at a vulnerable time for the motion in American politics. Union membership decreased 240,000 in one year to 10.7 percent of the labor force in 2016, about half as much as when the Census Bureau started gathering such data in 1983.

“There are some unions that, in fact, he has actually pursued. Educators come to mind. Government employees enter your mind,” stated the AFL-CIO’s Richard Trumka, describing the president’s promises to close or slash costs for the Department of Education and efforts to shrink the federal workforce.

Trump is starting with exactly what he understands, and where labor is concerned, that means structure trades go to the top of the list.

“Did you ever believe you ‘d see a president who knows just how much concrete and rebar you can set in a single day?” he said at their conference last month. “We’re a nation of contractors, and it was about time we had a builder in the White House.”

This president, stated Gary N. Chaison, a labor historian at Clark University, “knows extremely well from his old days operating in the hotel market in Manhattan that it is necessary to obtain along with the building and construction unions.”

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