Oped: Trump no friend to working people of Pennsylvania
Donald Trump has been lying to the men and women who make American steel. These are real people who support real families in our communities. Given the chance, Donald Trump has always abused and misused those of us who do real work.
You won’t hear him say so. He tells you whatever he thinks you want to hear, but the truth continues to come out. Here’s the latest example. Trump has been lying to Steelworkers for months about his commitment to American jobs, but a Newsweek investigation exposed his real agenda. In at least two of Trump’s last three massive construction projects, he bought cheap Chinese imports instead of steel from a mill here in Pennsylvania.
Trump recently asked how many union members were at his rally. The silence was deafening. You see, we know a fraud when we see one. We know exactly what he’d do if, God forbid, he ever made it to the White House.
Donald Trump makes a lot of promises, but his word is worthless. He promised to pay contractors and workers but stiffed them instead — not once or twice, but thousands of times.Trump tried to explain this theft in the first debate, saying that “maybe” he “wasn’t satisfied” with the work. Baloney. The work has never been a problem.The problem is Trump.
According to Newsweek, “the only beneficiaries of his decisions to go with cheaper Chinese metals for his construction project are Trump and his family,” and Trump “filled his bank accounts with millions of dollars that could have gone to blue-collar workers.” In other words, Trump’s business practices were nothing less than an assault on the pocketbooks of hard-working men and women in Bethlehem, Altoona, Braddock and everywhere in between.
It seems all of his Trump-branded products get made overseas, and he says “outsourcing is not always a terrible thing.” His suits are made in Mexico. His dress shirts are made in Bangladesh. His cufflinks are made in China. His furniture is made in Turkey. The main thing Trump manufactures in America is lies.
The fact is, Donald Trump doesn’t care about the hopes and dreams of everyday families. To him, we are nothing more than numbers on a balance sheet. But we can’t afford to work and not get paid. When we get ripped off, we lose our cars, our homes and even our families.
In the labor movement, we know good jobs like those in the steel industry didn’t become good by chance or corporate benevolence. Working people stood together in unions to fight for a voice on the job, fair pay and good benefits.
With a salesman like Donald Trump, you’ve got to listen to what he says and then watch what he does. That’s how you know what he’s really about. From his record, we know he’s anti-union and anti-worker. He’s 100 percent in favor of right to work, which is nothing but a cleverly named effort to cripple unions. Trump says American wages are too high, even as the gap between the rich and the rest of us is as bad as it’s been in almost a century.
And then there’s Trump’s illegal and disgraceful behavior in Las Vegas, where workers at his hotel voted to form a union. Trump doesn’t care. He refuses to follow the law and negotiate a first contract.
Those aren’t the deeds of someone who puts American workers first.
Trump talks tough on China. He claims to be a friend of the American steelworker. But remember, he chose to use cheap Chinese steel. The simple facts reveal a man who has spent his life enriching himself at our expense. A Trump presidency would be a disaster for Pennsylvania’s working families.
Instead of Trump, we’re all in with Hillary Clinton. She shares our values and vision. We’ve been working with her for the better part of three decades, and her word has always been her bond.
Not Donald Trump. He has never been on our side, and he’s no friend of working people.
Rick Bloomingdale is President of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO, and Frank Snyder is Secretary Treasurer of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO.