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LiUNA!: Trump's claim that he's pro worker 'is a flat-out lie'

Berry Craig
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AFT Local 9005

Remember when Donald Trump told some union members:

  • …I’m pro-union because union workers are the best workers in the world. And you are the best. (Applause) Not a — not a joke. That’s the God’s truth. That is the God’s truth. You’re the best in the world.
  • It’s better long-term for...[business] to hire you because you get the job done, you get it done on time, and, ultimately, it costs them less when they hire you.
  • So I’ve said many times: Wall Street didn’t build America. The middle class built America. And unions built the middle class. That’s a fact. (Applause) Unions.

You can't recall? your memory's fine. Trump didn't say that. Joe Biden did in recent remarks to members of International Union of Operating Engineers Local 77 in Accokeek, Md.

Okay, what about when Biden said, “Gotta have 'right to work. Gotta have 'right to work.' I like 'right to work.' I mean my position on ‘right to work’ is 100 percent”?

And when he praised some workers who "decided to go non-union," adding, "and that's a great honor as far as I'm concerned"?

That was Trump  on the campaign trail in 2016.

"You know, you’ve heard me say many times: I intend to be the most pro-union President leading the most pro-union administration in American history," Biden  said  in his 2021 Labor Day remarks. 

Trump was the most anti-union president since Herbert Hoover. "I make no apologies — and I mean this sincerely — for being the most pro-union president in American history," Biden also said  to Local 77. 

Okay, but what about Trump saying he supported the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act of 2021, because the measure "would dramatically enhance the power of workers to organize and collectively bargain for better wages, benefits, and working conditions."

Gotcha again. Biden said that, too.

Trump vowed to veto the PRO Act and the Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act, according to the Communications Workers of America. 

I've lost track of the number of times Biden has said he's for creating more union jobs. Maybe I missed it, but I've never heard Trump put "union" and "jobs" together.  

But many are the times Trump has smeared anybody who dared criticize him, including a union official named Chuck Jones. He was president of United Steelworkers Local 1999 at a Carrier plant in Indianapolis. 

Jones, a featured speaker at the 2017 Kentucky State AFL-CIO convention, said  then president-elect Trump "got up there and, for whatever reason, lied his ass off" about the number of jobs he claimed to have saved in a deal with Carrier management to keep the jobs from going to Mexico.

“Chuck Jones, who is President of United Steelworkers Local 1999, has done a terrible job representing workers. No wonder companies flee country!” Trump tweeted.

Item: Before he was president, Trump merchandise, from clothes to furniture, was made in at least a dozen foreign countries, including China, the Washington Post reported. 

Item: While he was president, Trump uttered 30,573 false or misleading statements, according to the Post

Item: Trump officially announced his bid for another term in Waco, Tex. last November. Texas is a "right to work" state.

In his rollout speech, Trump made 20 false or misleading statements, according to a CNN story that came with the disclaimer "this is not a comprehensive list." (If the GOP primary polls are right, Trump is a shoo-in for a rematch with Biden, who officially announced he's running again.)  

On Tuesday, soon after he tossed his hat in the ring for another term, Biden chose a union venue for his first public remarks: the North America's Building Trades Unions conference in non-RTW Washington, D.C. 

"Under my predecessor, Infrastructure Week became a punchline," CBS News's Kathryn Watson quoted Biden. "On my watch, infrastructure's become a decade headline, a decade. And that's where you all come in. No, really. That's where you all come in. We've already announced over 25,000 infrastructure projects in 4,500 towns across America. And we're just getting started, not even close. Union workers will build roads, bridges, lay internet cable, install 500,000 electric vehicle chargers throughout America. And union workers are going to transform America. And union workers are going to finish the job!"

Trump loves to call himself a builder. "Non-union builder" is more accurate.

When he emerged as the frontrunner for the 2016 Republican presidential nod, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers reviewed his record on building projects and found that "he hires union when project labor agreements or dominant market share force him to. But more than 60 percent of his projects developed outside New York City and Atlantic City – which includes most of his recent projects – were built nonunion. When you exclude developments with project labor agreements, that jumps to nearly 80 percent built nonunion.

"According to thousands of lawsuits filed against him and his companies, when union contractors were hired, Trump developed a reputation for stiffing some, delaying payment to others and shorting workers on overtime and even minimum wage.

"The lawsuits included 60 for not paying his bills, 24 violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act and four corporate bankruptcies that left hundreds of contractors with dimes, nickels, even pennies on the dollar. He has been sued for hiring undocumented workers, presided over thousands of layoffs and acquired tens of millions of dollars in personal wealth while companies he owned failed. At least five of the companies he has owned have terminated health insurance for employees, ended retiree health insurance, canceled their pension plans or some combination of all three." 

Even so, the myth persists, notably among many blue collar Americans, that Trump is in organized labor's corner. “Donald Trump likes to portray himself as pro-worker but like many of his assertions, this is a flat-out lie,” Laborers International Union of North America-  Chicago District Council warned as the 2020 presidential election neared.

But don't take LiUNA!'s word for it, or the IBEW's or Chuck Jones's or mine. Check out Trump's record on unions for yourself:  

-- Democracy Journal: The myth of a pro-union Trump

-- AFL-CIO: When Donald Trump had a choice, he close nonunion labor for his construction projects with IBEW

-- CWA: Trump's anti-worker record.

-- EPI: The Trump administration's attacks on workplace union voting rights forewarned of the broader threats to voting rights in the upcoming election

-- LiUNA! Chicago: Anti-union actions by the Trump administration

-- Northwest Labor Press: Four years of Trump: The record speaks for itself

-- NFFE: President Trump's union-busting executive orders: What you need to know

-- People's World: By a thousand cuts, Trump trying to exterminate unions

-- Labor Notes: Trump's anti-worker labor board

-- The American Prospect: Here's how Trump has waged his war on workers

-- St. Louis-/Southern Illinois Labor Tribune: 50 ways Donald Trump has hurt workers and their families

-- Coastal Bend Labor Council: Is Trump a champion of workers? His anti-union policies indicate otherwise

-- IUPAT DC 82: Abridged list: the Trump administration's attacks on working people

-- Jacobin: Trump claims he's pro-worker. But his labor board is trying to destroy worker organizing

-- ACT OHIO: Anti-worker NLRB rulings and the Trump administration