Our New Year's resolution: Dump Trump and Ditch Mitch

By BERRY CRAIG

AFT Local 1360

Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and other Democratic presidential hopefuls have union fans in Kentucky, where the primary is May 19.   

But in a recent fund-raising email, the Biden campaign made a proposition that all of us who pack union cards can agree to: So while you are making your New Year’s resolutions, make sure to add one more: Beating Donald Trump.

Here's another one: Ditching Mitch.

"The reality and rhetoric of Donald Trump are radically different," said Louisville labor lawyer Dave Suetholz in a recent story on the website. "He says he cares about the American worker--America first. That's rhetoric, a joke. The reality is that all of his appointees are business cronies who couldn't care less about working people."

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is Trump's chief enabler on Capitol Hill. Since he arrived in the Senate in 1985, McConnell has been in the front ranks of bare-knucks, union-busting lawmakers. He has voted the union position on issues just 11 percent of the time. McConnell rooted for Kentucky's "right to work" law and is all in for national RTW. 

While McConnell doesn't hide his disdain for organized labor, Trump favors the fake-out. 

"When it comes to wowing workers, Donald Trump is an absolute magician," Steven Greenhouse wrote in The American Prospect last August. "Through some mysterious sorcery, he has convinced millions of American workers that he is their true friend, fighting hard for them, even though he and his appointees have taken one anti-worker action after another—dozens of them." 

Greenhouse added that think tanks and worker advocates have compiled lengthy lists of Trump's anti-worker and anti-union actions—some of them more than 50 examples long. 

It's not that union members weren't warned about Trump's real agenda. Elected union leaders and union allies like Suetholz pointed out --and are still pointing out--that Trump is just another union-buster, if slicker than most of them.

He got elected on a Wall Street Republican platform with planks supporting:

— “right to work” (On the campaign trail, Trump said he liked RTW states better than non-RTW states.)

— repeal of the prevailing wage on federal construction projects

— deep cuts in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid

— big rollbacks in federal regulations that safeguard worker safety and health on the job, protect consumers, and shield the environment from polluters

— big tax breaks for corporations and for rich people and tax crumbs for working class Americans. 

Trump's NLRB appointees are making it harder on unions. Unions, not Trump, deserve most credit for the new House-passed United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said that the USMCA Trump initially proposed was a "sham" and no better than NAFTA.

So far, a dozen Democrats have filed for their party's Senate primary with at least one more expected before the Jan. 10 deadline. No matter which candidate you like in the primary, Ditching Mitch would make a dandy New Year's resolution, too.