Skip to comments.Trump Admin's Big Labor Appeasers Played Into AFL-CIO Chief Trumka's Hands
Posted on 09/04/2017 7:58:44 AM PDT by willowsdale
In the middle of August, Richard Trumka, the president of the AFL-CIO union hierarchy, exercised expert -- and malicious -- timing to embarrass the President Donald Trump. But Trumka never would have had the opportunity without White House advisors assistance.
Back in January, Trumka and his deputy chief of staff, Thea Lee, had happily accepted invitations from the Trump Administration to serve on the newly-established Presidential Manufacturing Council and Policy Forum. Apparently, at least some Trump advisors thought it was a good idea to solicit the advice of a man who had, just a few months before, publicly denounced the future President as full of baloney and bluster and a bigot.
Why did Trumka and his lieutenant agree to serve on the manufacturing council? Without a doubt, exclusively so that they would have an opportunity, somewhere down the road, to embarrass Donald Trump by announcing that, in response to some putative offense committed by the president, they would no longer sit on his council.
In the wake of the media controversy over the presidents response to the August 12 protests and violence in Charlottesville, Va., related to the citys plans to remove Confederate statues from government property, Trumka got his opportunity.
Three days after the bloodshed in Charlottesville, Trumka and Lee announced their resignations from the manufacturing council. Throughout the week, Trumka continued to lambaste the President Trump on multiple grounds, including the latters opposition to the removal of Confederate statues and monuments from public spaces.
Of course, a nonpartisan NPR/PBS News/Marist poll has shown that a more than two-to-one majority of all Americans, including a plurality of African Americans, agree with the president that statues honoring leaders of the Confederacy should remain where they are as a historical symbol.
Moreover, Trumka himself seems to tolerate bigotry whenever it serves Big Labors institutional interests for him to do so.
Just this August, in fact, a split federal panel of judges agreed with lawyers for the United Steelworkers union, an affiliate of Trumkas AFL-CIO, and National Labor Relations Board bureaucrats, that it was an unfair labor practice for the Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. to fire an employee for making overtly racist comments directed at coworkers.
The Steelworkers union brass took this distasteful position, with no visible dissent from Trumka or anyone else in the organized labor hierarchy, because the ugly comments about the smell of fried chicken and watermelon happened in this case to be aimed by a picketing union militant at African-American replacement workers.
The White House was undoubtedly angry (and may still be) about Trumkas brazen hypocrisy and backstabbing, but the Trump Administration insiders who tried to co-opt Trumka and Lee have only themselves to blame.
The correct lesson for the Trump team to learn from the Trumka fiasco is that national union officials are and will be the implacable foes of any president who has already committed himself, as Donald Trump did during last years campaign, to abolishing government-authorized forced union dues and fees as a condition of employment and other Big Labor special privileges.
The best way for the White House to defend itself from Trumka and others of his ilk is to attack such special privileges relentlessly. And this fall it would be very timely, in particular, for the president to press for repeal of union-label provisions in the Postal Reorganization Act of 1970 and the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978. These two laws statutorily impose union monopoly bargaining in postal and federal government agencies.
As a U.S. Postal Service (USPS) investigation recently confirmed, in 2016 union bosses wielded their exclusive representation power to pressure managers to allow nearly 100 letter carriers to take often extended leave so they could work full time to elect Hillary Clinton.
Staffing shortages and unnecessary overtime costs apparently occurred because senior leaders at USPS felt it was necessary to give postal union bosses what they wanted. And news reports published late this summer indicate federal agencies such as the Veterans Administration, Homeland Security, the U.S. Labor Department and the U.S. Commerce Department may have been similarly exploited by the union political machine.
Of course, getting legislation abolishing union monopoly bargaining over postal and federal employees through Congress wont be easy, and could take years. But merely holding congressional hearings and votes on such legislation would require top union bosses to spend more time explaining why they should keep their special privileges, and less time playing political games. And that would be a significant step in the right direction.
I think the intent was to try to setup a new coalition of blue collar workers into the Republican party. By showing that illegal immigration is bad for them (it is) and by trying to bring manufacturing jobs back to the US.
Frankly I think it looks more badly on Trumka than it does on Trump. Trumka just looks like a political worm rather than somebody trying to do right by his people he’s supposed to represent (allegedly)
They resigned and no one except CNN cared.
I think this is an exercise in thinking too much. I understand the tendency, but Trump can and will use this to his advantage....it is something he has been doing his whole life.
Trumka was invited and said yes. Trump looks magnanimous by reaching out to the old hack. Even if Trumka later bolts (like he did) in a huff, Trump can always point to this as part of a “reaching across” the aisle.
I doubt Trump would have taken Trumka very seriously, unless the labor thug changed his ways.
How about a federal right to work law?
Trumka’s a thug and everyone knows it!
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