U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during an interview in the Oval Office.
By Al Drago/Bloomberg/Getty Images.
In a move that would be deemed too heavy-handed for a Hollywood film, Donald Trump spent Labor Day attacking the leader of America’s largest labor union. “Richard Trumka, the head of the AFL-CIO, represented his union poorly on television this weekend,” he vented on Monday morning. “Some of the things he said were so against the working men and women of our country, and the success of the U.S. itself, that it is easy to see why unions are doing so poorly.” Prior to the president’s tweet, Trumka had appeared on Fox News Sunday to discuss Trump’s proposed NAFTA alternative, and though he said that the original agreement between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico was “devastating” to American workers because it enabled companies to capitalize on cheaper labor, he also expressed the opinion that any trade deal excluding Canada (i.e. Trump’s proposed plan) would be unworkable. “Our economies are integrated,” Trumka explained. “It’s hard to see how that would work without Canada on the deal.”
He was backed by Gary Shapiro, President and C.E.O. of the Consumer Technology Association, who agreed that all three North American countries must be included in any new deal. “We’re encouraged by the open dialogue between the Trump and [Mexican President Enrique] Peña Nieto administrations, working toward a modernized trade agreement that recognizes the technology sector’s critical role in American economic growth,” Shapiro said in a statement. “At the same time, we are concerned that excluding Canada from a final agreement will limit our export opportunities and hurt the U.S. economy.”
Improving the lives of American workers was one of the cornerstones of the president’s campaign. And if you ask Trump, he’s succeeding wildly:
But, nearly two years into his presidency, Trump hasn’t improved conditions for America’s workforce at all—in fact, the administration has seemingly been doing everything it can to make the plight of workers worse. New plans to maximize production on American soil have rolled back safety regulations in mines, oil rigs, and meat-processing plants, according to a lengthy report from Politico. In one example, a proposed revision would allow equipment on oil rigs to be tested less frequently, to prevent “wear and tear” and save the industry $900 million over 10 years. “The amount of time and energy they put into rolling back this vital worker health and safety protections could have easily been put into implementing existing protections and enacting new rules that are needed,” said Shanna Devine, an advocate for Public Citizen. “This Labor Day, it’s clear where the administration’s interests lie.”