Donald Trump, Friend Of The Working Class, Bravely Violates Federal Labor Laws
Throughout this election, Trump has been bragging about the support he's gotten from union members and the working class. He's been dubbed a "blue-collar billionaire" by people who clearly have a very low opinion of blue-collar workers. Apparently, all it takes to be a "blue collar billionaire" is saying sexist things and eating fast food.
He was even quite upset when the AFL-CIO, which is currently backing a boycott of all Trump properties due to his union-busting tendencies, endorsed Hillary Clinton over him in the election, stating, “I believe [union] members will be voting for me in much larger numbers than for her.” This does not appear to be the case, as a recent AFL-CIO poll showed that his support among union members has dipped from 44% to 32% -- less than Mitt Romney, even.
Maybe it would be higher, though, if he didn't actively hate unions and go around violating labor rights all the time.
On Wednesday night, the National Labor Relations Board ruled that Trump has been illegally refusing to recognize or bargain with the newly formed union at his Trump International Hotel in Las Vegas, represented by Culinary Workers Union Local 226, an affiliate of UNITE HERE. He has been ordered to recognize and negotiate with them, and to post notices in the hotel about the violation.
Due to his desperate fear of having to pay his employees a fair wage (Trump Hotel employees are paid an average of $3 less an hour than other hotels in Las Vegas), Trump spent two years and half a million dollars on an anti-union consulting firm trying to quash unionization efforts. Yeah, he thought it was better to give about $500,000 to a group devoted to scaring workers off from unionizing than to pay the maids in his hotel $3 more an hour. That's how much he looooooves working class people and wants to make America great again.
“They intimidated us a lot,” Trump hotel housekeeper Marisela Olvera said. “They pressured us a lot [to vote no]. They told us the union only wants our money, that if we supported the union we’d lose our jobs, that the company would put our names on a blacklist and no other hotels in Las Vegas would hire us. They told us to think of what our children would do if we were out of work. Everyone was very stressed. People were afraid.”
When Trump didn't get his way, and the workers organized anyway, he decided to put his fingers in his ear and scream "LA LA LA LA LA LA LA" rather than admit defeat and negotiate with the union, which is why he's in trouble now. He looooves the working class of course, just so long as they don't want any actual money for their work.
Thus, the grand irony Trump's anti-TPP stance and his plan to "bring manufacturing back." Without strong unions (and remember, Trump also supports Right-To-Work-For-Less), manufacturing jobs will pay absolute shit. Just like they used to before the Labor Movement. You know, that whole crazy thing where there were tons of strikes and lots of people died in the fight for fair wages?
His blue-collar supporters are essentially counting on manufacturers -- many of whom currently use sweatshop labor and are accustomed to paying children three cents a day for their work -- to be better and more generous people than he is. That they will come back here and, without being compelled to in any fashion, will pay them the same kind of wages they got before the decline of unions.
Of all the cruel things Donald Trump has said and done -- and there are a lot -- this is perhaps the cruelest of all. I lived in a rust-belt city, Rochester, New York, during the mass layoffs of the '90s, when companies like Xerox and Kodak and Bausch and Lomb moved their manufacturing facilities overseas. It was heartbreaking. But people weren't sad to see those jobs go because they loved doing manufacturing and working in factories so much -- they were sad because they were jobs that they could earn a living off of without needing an expensive college degree. Because they were union jobs. Bringing manufacturing jobs here without supporting labor rights -- without first doing something about making our current low-wage jobs pay a living wage, without doing something about employers like Donald Trump -- makes absolutely no sense. He's trading on nostalgia and offering nothing in return.
Trusting a man who won't pay his workers fairly or recognize their labor rights to bring back jobs is like trusting a dingo with babysitting duties. He doesn't care about his workers, why would he give a crap about anyone else?
Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Previously, she was a Senior Staff Writer at Death & Taxes, and Assistant Editor at The Frisky (RIP). Currently, she writes for Wonkette, Friendly Atheist, Quartz and other sites. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse