A chicken who voted for Col. Sanders

By BERRY CRAIG

AFT Local 1360

Kurt Glazier of Whiteside County, Ill., packs a union card. He is a state employee.

He's also a Trump voter and the county Republican chair. That double-whammy reminds me of a sign that hung in a Paducah union hall in 1980: "A union member voting for Ronald Reagan is like a chicken voting for Col. Sanders."

Substitute "Donald Trump" for The Gipper, and the sign is up to date.   

Glazier is one of a slew of midwestern Trump voters the Washington Post’s Dan Baltz interviewed for a story that's been the buzz on TV political talk shows.  

I’m also a union guy and a retired state employee--a community college history teacher for 24 years. I voted for Hillary Clinton, the candidate my union--American Federation of Teachers--and the AFL-CIO endorsed.  

My guess is that Glazier, 50, voted for Reagan, who was the most anti-union president since Herbert Hoover. I voted for AFL-CIO-endorsed Democrat Jimmy Carter.

Reagan was a fraud and a con man. He ran on a standard pro-Wall Street and anti-union platform. It even included the phrase, "make America great again." 

Trump, too, was--and still is--a charlatan and huckster. His platform was virtually the same as Reagan's, calling for

  • "Right to work" (On the campaign trail, Trump said he preferred right to work states to non-right to work states.)
  • Repeal of the prevailing wage on federal construction projects.
  • Deep cuts in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
  • Sharp rollbacks in federal regulations that protect worker safety and health on the job, safeguard  consumers and shield the environment from polluters.
  • Hefty tax breaks for corporations and rich people and tax crumbs for the rest of us.

I'm 68. I remember when Reagan busted the Professional Air Traffic Controllers--one of the few unions that endorsed him.

I remember "Reaganomics," -- warmed over Republican "Trickle-Down economics" from the 1920s. Reaganomics gave the country the worst unemployment since the Great Depression, whose chief cause was Trickle-Down.

Today, Republican governors and GOP majorities in state legislatures are pushing union-busting legislation, notably RTW laws. (Glazier's governor, Republican Bruce Rauner, is a union-buster who especially detests public employee unions.)

Cheered on by GOP Gov. Matt Bevin, the Republican-majority Kentucky legislature passed a RTW law in 2017.  Every Democrat in the House and Senate voted against the bill. All but a handful of Republicans supported it.

The legislature also repealed the state prevailing wage law. Nearly every Republican lawmaker voted for the measure; all but one Democratic House member opposed it.

In Congress, Democrats are a whole lot more likely to vote the union position on issues than Republicans are. Check out the AFL-CIO's online legislative scorecard.  

“History will tell you that the Democrats ramrodded every meaningful piece of legislation for the benefit of working people,” said J.R. Gray, a former Democratic state representative, International Association of Machinists union official and Kentucky labor secretary.

He's right. So this chicken isn't about to vote for the colonel.