Response to AFL CIO President Richard Trumka’s CBS News interview talking about why Trump falls like a house of cards with union members.
“True Blue Collar”
John Hanno October 7, 2016
I’m blue collar, thru and thru. I wear blue shirts, blue pants, blue socks, blue hats and if I could afford designer underwear, I’d wear blue underwear too. I’m proud of my lifetime (50 years) of working with my hands, as an electrician/electrical tech and carpenter. I belonged to 4 different locals of the IBEW and was a member of a dozen other unions; steel, textile, auto, teamsters, nuclear workers, furniture workers and other industrial unions. Having been through 4 manufacturing plant closings, I can understand folks who need a job, any good living wage job. But there are issues more important than strictly looking out for one’s own welfare. There were many of our brothers and sisters who sacrificed life and limb in the early days of America’s labor struggles.
I know some union workers are thinking about voting for Trump, especially in those rust belt states most impacted by off shoring. Trump will say anything to anyone in order to hoodwink voters. It’s pure bull. Every other sentence that come out of his mouth is a lie. If you think for one minute that you can trust Trump or any other Republi-con in Congress to support programs vital to labor and particularly union labor, you’re kidding yourselves. Even before the Regan administration’s war on unions, corporations (now multinationals) and their Republican enablers have mounted an unrelenting decades long assault on labor, and consequently America’s middle class. Walker in Wisconsin is nothing new, he’s just the latest version. These crony capitalists have an inbred hatred for unions and labor in general. And Trump has proven that, time and again, by stiffing workers who labored for him. Just check out the unrelenting legislative attacks in every single state controlled by Republican Governors and or legislatures.
And if you think Trump or any other alt right republi-con is capable of bringing back manufacturing plants or keeping others from leaving, you’re delusional. China and Mexico are not stealing our manufacturing plants and jobs as Trump screams daily, multinationals have and will continue to chase the cheapest labor, the least amount of safety and environmental regulations and international partners who will turn a blind eye to their exploitation of labor. China and Mexico are just the latest destinations. And if TPP is passed, there will be another half dozen of these cheap labor pools to chose from.
Study the history of the labor movement. It’s no accident that labor has unfailingly supported progressive Democrats. Google these Republi-con pretenders voting records in Congress. They’ve voted for every single bill that enabled these companies to flee the country with lucrative accompanying tax incentives and against any legislation that would protect workers or retrain those impacted by off shoring. They’ve voted against any and all minimum wage increases and unemployment benefits. They’ve voted against any and all jobs bills proposed by the Obama or any other Democratic congress or administration. And if you think Trump would be any different, just read a list of the folks he’s intended to hire if he’s elected. He wants to take America back yes but back to the Robber Baron days.
These folks despise and devalue those of us who work with our hands or undertake the dangerous and dirty jobs. They demonize government workers (especially mail carriers for some strange reason), public school teachers and those who labor long and hard to supply us with cheap food. They can’t help themselves, it in their DNA.
It’s been a rough few decades for labor but I think the pendulum is swinging back our way. We were losing 800,000 jobs a month in the last Republican administration but are now creating 200,000 or more per month now. And because of The Affordable Care Act, all those older workers, who were hanging onto jobs just for medical insurance, have left the work force; ergo the low employment participation rate. That’s why the Republi-cons tried to overturn the ACA more than 54 times. They want desperate workers beholden to employers. But President Obama quickly realized that to tackle the jobs debacle he inherited, he had to try to appease the corporate titans who pleaded the high cost of health care as the number one reason for off shoring jobs, ($2,300 per American made auto). That’s the primary reason he invested so much capital, trying to get at least a marginal health care bill passed. It wasn’t pretty but it’s a start.
To continue the rebirth of labor and the American middle class started by this administration, we must support progressive Democratic candidates who respect labor and their contribution to a vibrant middle class. Our job on November 8th is to vote only for candidates who fight for, living wage jobs for all, the clean technology jobs of the future, infrastructure beneficial for all of us, not just corporations and fossil fuel, free public education and affordable single payer health care. And most importantly, overturning Citizens United so that oligarchs like the Koch brothers can’t buy our politicians. Stay strong brothers and sisters, don’t sell your soul to these anti labor devils.
Alton Very well said brother
John Hanno, Thank you.
Patrick If the “GOLD STANDARD” TPP is passed, you can thank your blue sweatered friends in DC…
John Hanno, Patrick, Do your homework. 100% of progressive and at least 75% of the rest of Democrats in congress are against TPP.
Elizabeth HRC is NOT a progressive and she IS for TPP
Marie, Unions are automatic votes for Democrats. How about Unions stay out of politics and just worry about your members well being. Stop telling them how to vote. Btw, proud Union home here.
John Hanno, Marie, You can’t separate union and politics any more than you can separate living and politics. They’re intertwined. There’s been a coordinated war on labor and unions since Regan. It’s corporations and oligarchs like the Koch Brothers in coordination with their Republi-con lapdogs waging this war. Its a political war waged in legislatures in red states, (and some in blue states with Republi-con governors like Rauner in Illinois) and labor must stand up and defend themselves in the political arena. I was a union member for 50 years in a dozen different unions. I was never told who to vote for. I had enough brains to know who was and was not supporting labor. Most if not all the Republican who even thought about supporting labor interests have been drummed out of the party long ago.