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By Jaclyn Diaz
President Donald Trump told construction union leaders at the White House Jan. 23 that he’ll “get them working again” and received a compliment on his inaugural address from one of them.
Doug McCarron, general president of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters, began to praise Trump’s speech just as reporters were leaving the room at the start of the meeting. That prompted Trump to call them back.
“Hey press, get back in here,” the president yelled. Once they reassembled, McCarron said the speech “hit home for people who have been hurting.”
The meeting focused on what White House spokesman Sean Spicer called Trump’s “pro-worker agenda.” Representatives from 13 unions, including the Ironworkers, Sheet Metal Workers and North America’s Building Trades unions, attended.
“This is a group I know well,” Trump told the attendees. He said he has hired “thousands and thousands” of those union members.
Union representatives told reporters after the talk that it was an “excellent” meeting, but none of the unions responded to requests for further comment from Bloomberg BNA.
Earlier in the day, the White House announced plans to abandon the Trans-Pacific Partnership and pursue bilateral trade agreements. (See related story.) Union officials literally applauded the action during their meeting with Trump.
Other union officials not invited to the Trump meeting lauded the president’s executive order. His action on the TPP was an important first step in rectifying U.S. trade policy, the AFL-CIO and United Steelworkers said Jan. 23.
“While these are necessary actions, they aren’t enough. They are just the first in a series of necessary policy changes required to build a fair and just global economy,” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said in a statement.
“Today’s action draws a line in the sand that hopefully is just the start of President Trump’s promised, pro-worker, pro-income-growth agenda that prioritizes revitalizing manufacturing. We look forward to working with the current administration on overcapacity in steel, aluminum, and on currency manipulation and other unfair trade practices,” Leo Gerard, the United Steelworkers president, said in a statement.
Trump is scheduled to meet Jan. 24 with representatives from the Big Three automobile manufacturers.
To contact the reporter on this story: Jaclyn Diaz in Washington at jDiaz@bna.com
Copyright © 2017 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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