Which side are you on? Union members voted for Trump.

Union members voted for Donald Trump, at least a huge percentage of them did.  They were part of the big surprise vote.  I don’t know by what percentage, but I KNOW it is true.  I really can’t blame them, but of course I do.

Why you ask?  Simple.  President Bill Clinton passed NAFTA, and the Democratic Presidential candidates who followed: Gore, Kerry, and Hillary all supported FREE TRADE agreements.  Every 4 years unions put boots on the ground, make phone calls, send truck loads of literature urging union members to support the union endorsed Presidential candidate.  But, it has been harder and harder to convince union members that Democrats are on their side.  

Union members aren’t stupid.  When the Donald shouted out to the Steelworkers and Coal miners he was going tear up TPP and bring their outsourced jobs back — he had their vote.  It didn’t matter all his Trump stuff is made overseas, and he bought steel from China to build is Las Vegas hotel.  No one believed Hillary when she said she didn’t support the TPP.  Not me, not industrial union members and certainly not anyone who knows the Clintons.

Yes, I voted for Hillary. I volunteered and knocked on doors, stood outside precinct 10 in Martin County FL for 4 hours talking to voters (outside the 100-foot line) handing them the Democratic slate card.  Of course I wanted Hillary to win, but let’s face facts.  She was a flawed candidate, and she supports trade agreements, always has always will.  Obama was a disappointment on trade, but Hillary was a known commodity, no matter what she said.  She was for it, before she was against it.

That is why union members voted for Trump.  He told them what they have wanted to hear, these are “bad trade agreements”.  Hillary said it, but no one believed her.

Of course, Trump will stop the overtime regulations, unions and progressives groups have fought tooth-and-nail for.  He will rip-up all Obama’s executive orders, he will dismantle OSHA and Wage and Hour enforcement, and worse of all he will sign into law national Right-to-Work legislation.  Striping members of their unions.  Workers are going to suffer under a Trump administration.  But Donald said TPP was a bad trade deal, and Obama/Clinton was selling them down the proverbial river, and he had their vote.

I like to quote former Washington Post columnist Harold Myerson, “Why does business get two political parties?”   Myerson got fired from the Post, because unions are no longer relevant in the 21st century economy.  Just like manufacturing.  Although when Trump harkens back to ‘Make America Great Again’, a far greater percentage of workers had strong unions and the benefits of collective bargaining.

The Democrats have taken labor unions and their members for granted, especially union money and boots on the ground, for far too long.   This time union members said, “we are mad as hell and we aren’t going to take it anymore”.  Not all union members voted for Trump, but I suspect 50+% did; and I think I am being conservative in my estimate. 

And, of course there is the gun issue, which just pushed them even further into Trumps open arms.  Yes, gun owning union members love their guns more than they love their union.  When I was working as a union representative I remember a correctional officer yelling at me for not being as tough as the Teamsters (I worked for AFSCME).  I told him, “when they contract out your job, and you lose your salary, pension, and health care.  You can take your gun and shoot yourself”.

Which side are you on?  Not Obama’s, and NOT Clinton’s, when it comes to trade.  And, union members knew that.  Sad but true.

One thought on “Which side are you on? Union members voted for Trump.

  1. As I was knocking on doors in historic working class neighborhoods of Philadelphia, walking by beautiful old churches that have fallen into disrepair, shuttered factories, and former union halls and other former civic organizations, I also saws vibrant signs of community and enterprise. What I did not see was a very responsive local government or local services. The Democratic machine is failing these diverse communities.Workers have lost their voice at work and ability to share in economic growth, and their tax dollars are not returned to their communities in the form of better schools and cleaner streets. Public sector workers and their unions must recognize this and help lead a broader movement for change that restores voice for all workers and responds to needs of local communities. After right to work swept through Midwest states we should not be surprised that the only peaceful way for disenfranchised workers and communities to express their frustration and anger was with a protest vote for a man who successfully pitted them against each other. Now the work and the movement building must be focused first at local and state levels. We have to build new unions that are more inclusive and responsive to workers and communities.

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