Labor Movement Praises President Biden’s Leadership While MAGA Republicans Side Against Workers
June 16, 2023
President Biden just picked up the endorsement from the AFL-CIO — the earliest presidential endorsement in the labor federation’s history — for his work as the strongest pro-labor president of our lifetimes. The 2024 GOP field, meanwhile, is chock-full of candidates with anti-worker records — including efforts to drastically cut Labor Department funding, hampering unions’ ability to organize, and opposing minimum wage increases.
Donald Trump attempted to slash Labor Department spending by over a billion dollars EVERY SINGLE YEAR he was in office and made it easier to fire federal employees, while his National Labor Relations Board made it harder for contractors and workers to form unions.
Bloomberg Law: “White House Proposes 11% Cut in Labor Department Spending”
Bloomberg Law: “Consistent with previous years, a $1.3 billion trim proposed for the department targets the Employment and Training Administration, which typically accounts for about three-quarters of overall DOL spending.”
Politico: “President Donald Trump on Friday issued a series of executive orders to weaken the influence of government unions and make it easier for agencies to fire civil servants. … [The orders] also direct federal agencies to renegotiate their labor contracts and cap the amount of paid time that workers can take off to conduct union-related business.”
Wall Street Journal: “The National Labor Relations Board overturned an Obama-era ruling that potentially made it easier for contractors and workers at franchised businesses to form unions and collectively bargain with big corporations. The board, which is now controlled by Republicans, reversed itself on the 2015 case known as Browning-Ferris Industries.”
Ron DeSantis has a yearslong record of siding against workers — including opposing raising the minimum wage, hamstringing unions’ ability to organize, and pushing for anti-union and anti-worker legislation while in Congress.
Pennsylvania Capital-Star: “On at least seven occasions DeSantis has taken aim at construction workers by voting against Davis-Bacon prevailing wage standards – which require companies that receive government contracts pay construction workers at least the basic hourly rate of wages and benefits paid to a number of similarly employed workers in a given geography.”
Florida Politics: “Gov. Ron DeSantis urges Floridians to shoot down $15 minimum wage amendment”
Tallahassee Democrat: “Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday signed into law strict new requirements on public-sector unions, including those that represent health care workers and teachers. … It’s among a host of strategies which could diminish union strength that have been introduced across many Republican-led states and in Congress.”
In addition to supporting Trump’s tirade against the Labor Department, Mike Pence has also sought to undermine union labor at every level of his political career — including supporting right-to-work laws and opposing an effort to raise the minimum wage above $5.15.
The Hill: “Pence also defended Indiana’s right-to-work law from union attacks. Adopted by his predecessor, former Gov. Mitch Daniels, the legislation allows workers to reject union membership.”
HuffPost: “Mike Pence Once Thought A $7.25 Minimum Wage Was Too High”
HuffPost: “Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R), Donald Trump’s vice presidential pick, opposed a successful effort in 2007 to raise the federal minimum wage to $7.25 an hour over two years. Pence, then a congressman, took to the House floor to explain why he opposed raising the minimum wage, which was then $5.15 an hour.”
Nikki Haley spent her political career in South Carolina opposing unions and even touting the state’s anti-union reputation.
Haley: “We need to continue to bully out the unions and tell them we don’t want them here.”
Greenville News: “South Carolina loves its manufacturing jobs from BMW, Michelin and Boeing and wants more. But Gov. Nikki Haley says they’re not welcome if they’re bringing a unionized workforce. ‘It’s not something we want to see happen,’ she said after an appearance at an automotive conference in downtown. ‘We discourage any companies that have unions from wanting to come to South Carolina because we don’t want to taint the water.’”
Augusta Chronicle: “Haley pointed to Boeing’s decision in advocating the anti-union measure. The state’s anti-union reputation is a great asset, she said. ‘It’s the reason Boeing came,’ Haley said in her campaign headquarters, standing alongside Attorney General Henry McMaster and the GOP nominee to replace him, Alan Wilson. ‘It’s the reason companies look to South Carolina, and it’s something we need to keep in place.’”
Tim Scott has criticized unions as a “cost” to corporate productivity and advancement in addition to pushing legislation that would weaken unions.
Scott: “I had about 70 union protesters saying that I was anti-union at my office just last week because of the results of my stance with Boeing. … I believe that that is a part of the agenda that blocks job creation in America, number one. Number two, we have to look at the productivity and the cost that unions bring to force, bring to bear on our economy. What our corporations need is more certainty and more predictability in order to hire more folks.”
Washington Examiner: “Americans for Prosperity … sent a letter to members of Congress on Wednesday urging them to pass new legislation to update labor law to curb union power and help workers who want to avoid unionization. Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) and Rep. Rick Allen (R-GA) reintroduced a new version of their Employee Rights Act legislation on Wednesday, which would include protections for gig workers, typically the subject of intense fighting between unions and corporations. The bill stands in contrast to the Protecting the Right to Organize Act, introduced by Democrats, which would expand collective bargaining rights to gig workers, in addition to undoing state right-to-work laws.”
Other GOP contenders’ anti-worker records include opposing better pay for workers, calling to abolish teachers unions, refusing to expand paid leave, and supporting right-to-work laws.
Arkansas Times: “Hutchinson leads Republican opposition to better pay for workers on federal jobs”
Ramaswamy: “Abolish teachers unions.”
NJ.com: “In July, Christie partially vetoed a bill (A4927) expanding paid leave for New Jersey workers caring for a new child or sick relative. His conditional veto struck the expansion of benefits under the program and job protections it would have offered for certain workers taking leave. Under the expansion, the eligibility period for leave would have doubled from six weeks to 12, and it would have raised the cap on the wage reimbursements applicants could receive.”
Youngkin: “When it comes to business, they want to take away our right to work status in Virginia. I want to keep our right to work status.”