President Trump campaigned on a theme of bringing back good paying jobs. He promised he would be the “greatest job producer God has ever created.” Both Trump and Iowa Republicans’ election successes resulted in part by convincing traditional Democratic labor voters to vote for Republicans in 2016. Trump sold labor and union voters on a phony claim that he would be a champion for blue collar Americans. Both Trump and Iowa Republican Legislators were able to win nationally and in Iowa because labor voters believed Republicans’ bogus claims that they would support and champion labor.
Now that Trump is President, his counterfeit support for labor has been revealed. Trumps appointments of mega-rich, corporate anti-labor, union busting nominees for his cabinet demonstrate his promise of bigger checks to labor just bounced. Trump’s Labor Secretary nominee, Andrew Pudzer, who should be the champion for laboring men and women, has a long history of hostility to laboring men and women. He opposed President Obama’s initiative to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10.
Iowa Republicans, who also benefitted by Iowa labor voters’ support in the 2016 election, are betraying these voters as well by duplicating the Trump/Pence/Pudzer anti-minimum wage model.
President Trump’s actions and appointments prove his campaign promises were just bogus tricks used to fool blue collar and union workers into believing he supported them. Trump’s greatest show on earth is built on smoke and mirrors, and as the smoke clears, we see the reality of a corporate-dominated administration hostile to laboring men and women.
Labor Secretary nominee Pudzer’s fast food chain CKE (Hardees and Carl’s Jr) has been identified as the fourth worst labor law violator in an industry well known for abusing their employees. CKE has had numerous class action suits brought against them by their employees alleging wage theft. Pudzer’s former director of franchise development was quoted as saying Pudzer’s primary responsibility was, “to the shareholders and to the franchisees to be able to deliver profits…shareholders and profits first, workers last.”
In a March 2016 interview with Business Insider, Pudzer revealed his lack of respect for his employees and his championing of automation. Pudzer compared his preference to machines over his employees by saying machines, “always upsell, they never take a vacation, they never show up late, there’s never a slip-and-fall, or an age, sex or race discrimination case.” Trump nominated a Labor Secretary that as a corporate boss championed the replacement of workers with machines.
While Union leadership opposed Trump, he successfully peeled off many working class union households. They defied their union leadership and voted for Trump in hopes he could improve the economy for them. Iowa Republicans received those same Trump labor votes that resulted in Republicans taking control of the Iowa Senate.
Now those same Republicans are sharpening their knives planning to gut Iowa government protections of labor rights. It appears Iowa Republicans are planning on preempting the four counties that raised their minimum wages. In effect the Republicans plan to overrule local county governments by slashing the minimum wages of residents in three of the four largest Iowa counties (Polk, Linn, Johnson) as well as Wapello.
However, cutting the minimum wage is just the tip of the Iowa Republicans’ anti-labor agenda. Democrats are expecting Republicans to assault the forty-year tradition of fair and trouble-free bargaining rights of Iowa teachers, police officers, firefighters and other public employees.
Many union and labor voters were scammed by Republican lies and now we see the reality of their anti-labor agenda taking shape. Democrats must stand in solidarity with our union brothers and sisters. We must defend the hard won rights of public employees. Teachers, police officers, firefighters and all public employees deserve our support. Public employees protect us, educate our children, keep us safe, plow our streets and provide us with government services. We owe them our support against the vicious Republican attacks on their public service.
by Rick Smith