The Biggest Labor Stories of 2017: The Attacks From Above and the Fight From Below

Source: In These Times

The first year of any Republican presidential administration is sure to bring new attacks on unions and their allies. This year has seen plenty of anti-labor offensives, as well as inspiring fights and encouraging signs for the future.

Let’s start with the most over-blown “fake news” labor story of 2017: the asinine notion that Donald Trump has a cunning plan to cleave white working-class voters away from the Democratic party by protecting American jobs and giving unions a fair shake. From the coalmines of West Virginia to the Carrier plant of Indiana, Trump’s claims of saving jobs have been spectacles of hucksterism that resulted in fewer good jobs.

His invitation of building-trades leaders to the White House in his first week on the job—once seen as a canny exploitation of union leaders’ simmering resentment towards Democratic party indifference—is now understood as the gesture of a clueless buffoon struggling vainly to treat his new job like his business ventures. “Let’s bring in a few dealmakers and talk about construction projects,” he probably thought. “Maybe they have some good suggestions for how my idiot son-in-law might go about bargaining for peace in the Middle East.”

Meanwhile, his Department of Labor and  National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) appointments, and the speed with which they are reversing any gains that workers made under the Obama administration, are all bog-standard right-wing moves. The official labor policies of the Trump administration are exactly the same as would have been Jeb Bush’s or Mitt Romney’s.

But workers refuse to wait until Trump is impeached, voted out or felled by his nauseatingly unhealthy diet. The year was marked by some impressive organizing campaigns that offer hope for the future.


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