Trumka: Labor Has Its Eye on Trump

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By Jaclyn Diaz

President Donald Trump must decide whom to fight for: Wall Street tycoons or the average U.S. worker, Richard Trumka, the president of the AFL-CIO labor federation, said April 4.

Since his election, Trump has made decisions that hurt workers, Trumka said during a luncheon at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Closing in on Trump’s first 100 days as president, the White House appears to be split between two factions, Trumka said. The Wall Street wing is seeking to undermine Trump’s campaign promises to workers, and a competing wing wants to see those promises kept, Trumka said.

The AFL-CIO, an umbrella organization that includes 55 unions representing some 12.5 million workers, has been a critic of Trump since before he was elected. The group endorsed Democrat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.

By moving to roll back a number of workplace protections since elected, the president is reneging on promises he made to U.S. workers who supported him, Trumka said.

The president’s demands to U.S. companies to stay in the country isn’t enough, Trumka said. Trump must actively reject right-to-work laws, promote and protect the rights of every worker, and work to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement to include enforceable labor standards.

Asked to comment on Trumka’s remarks, the White House forwarded a statement made by Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Feb. 3. “The President believes in right to work. He wants to give workers and companies the flexibility to do what’s in the best interest for job creators,” the statement said.

The labor movement will keep a watchful eye on the president, Trumka said. “If the president does something good for all working people, something that’s consistent with our values, we’ll support it. If he does something that threatens us, we’ll fight it as a unified labor front,” he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jaclyn Diaz in Washington at jDiaz@bna.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Peggy Aulino at maulino@bna.com; Terence Hyland at thyland@bna.com; Christopher Opfer at copfer@bna.com

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