With Donald Trump due to become president next month, what does that mean for America’s workers, blue collar workers, America’s middle class? During his campaign Trump said he would do for the middle class what previous administrations had neglected to do: to ensure that wages and benefits improved and to see to it that those who were unemployed would find gainful employment. A lot of working people, tired of struggling to keep a roof over their heads, voted for him based on his promises to help them have a better quality of life. Now that he’s been elected and will take office in January, will those promises become a reality for the working class over the next four years?
Based on his past performance before his election, his selection of potential cabinet members, and the fact that both the House and Senate are controlled by the Republican Party, the answer is: not likely.
Not only will those promises made on the campaign trail regarding the working class of America not become reality, but the plight of the American worker–the middle class–will become increasingly more dire.
Take for example the position of the incoming chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, North Carolina’s own Virginia Foxx. Back in September Ms. Foxx was hopeful she would become that committee’s chairperson. In an interview with Politico she admitted she had big plans for the future of education and labor should she become the committee’s chairperson. Big plans indeed.
After stating that a Donald Trump administration would be “akin to heaven on Earth” compared with the Obama administration’s labor policies, she articulated plans that would help make this “heaven on Earth” scenario a reality. A reality for big business. A reality for big banks. A reality for America’s one percent. A reality, in general, for the 21st century’s robber barons.
However, for the working class, her plans and the Trump administration’s plans will be more akin to hell on Earth.
In an interview with Reuters a couple of days ago when it was announced that Ms. Foxx would become that committee’s chairman next month, Ms. Foxx opined that organized labor has “sort of lost its reason for being,” stating that it is no longer necessary because of the many laws that have been enacted to protect workers.
However, even if that statement were true–which it isn’t–Ms. Foxx’s plans regarding workers in the new administration would make organized labor extremely relevant because she plans over the next four years to dismantle every conceivable law that has ever been passed to benefit and protect workers.
Among the many items on her To Do List are the following:
- To repeal a wide range of Obama’s regulations that benefit workers and “to do whatever we can to stop the rules coming out of the Labor Department–either block them or repeal them.”
- Will work to repeal the National Labor Relations Board’s rule that is designed to speed up union elections.
- Hold hearings to reexamine the National Labor Relations Act.
- Eliminate a rule that would extend mandatory overtime pay to more than four million workers.
- Repeal the National Labor Relations Board’s revised standard for “joint employment” making it easier for unions and regulators to hold companies accountable for the employment practices of staffing agencies, contractors and franchises with which they partner.
Of course, Ms. Foxx is aware that the Democratic Party will take issue with these and other plans to bolster companies bottom lines at the expense of the worker. Her response?
“I think that they (Democrats) will bring up their tired arguments about how we are destroying the world by doing the things that we’re doing, but frankly I think this last election shows that the American people aren’t buying those arguments anymore.”
However, we would argue that the “American people” weren’t aware that the destruction of labor and the middle class was what they were actually voting for. We’ll see what their response is when these plans become more apparent.