Rust belt leaders rip Trump for ‘selling out’ workers

President Donald Trump delivers remarks at the American Center for Mobility, Ypsilanti, Michigan, Wednesday, March, 15, 2017. | Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead, Flickr

Labor allies from Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin on Thursday pushed back hours ahead of against President Donald Trump’s afternoon event celebrating the one-year anniversary of his executive order establishing the National Council for the American Worker.

Rep. Dan Kildee and House Democrats
U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Flint) speaks at a press conference featuring House Democrats at the U.S. Capitol April 20, 2016, in Washington, DC | Win McNamee, Getty Images

U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Flint ); U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.); Sylvia Wilson, executive vice President of the Allegheny County, Pa., Labor Council; and former United Steelworkers 1999 President Chuck Jones were present on a conference call organized by the Democratic National Committee.

Democrats have been laser-focused on winning back in 2020 the three Upper Midwest states that put Trump over the top in 2016.

Kildee pointed out that Trump campaigned in Warren, Mich., in 2016 and pledged to “bring back auto jobs” and that “you won’t lose one plant.”

“His pledge is exactly what workers have come to expect from Trump: One broken pledge after another,” said Kildee.

But in February, General Motors announced plans to lay off 14,000 workers and close three assembly plants and two component factories in North America by the end of the year. A Michigan economic forecast said the state could see a loss of 16,000 jobs overall.

GM layoffs could mean 16,000 fewer jobs overall in Michigan

Baldwin also argued that Trump has failed at lowering health care prescriptions costs and strengthening Medicare amidst his attacks on Obamacare.

“His relentless campaign to sabotage the Affordable Care Act has driven up health care premiums,” Baldwin said.

Donald Trump | Gage Skidmore, Flickr

On July 19, 2018, Trump signed the order establishing the council.

“Comprised of senior administration officials, the National Council for the American Worker is charged with developing a national strategy for training and retraining the workers needed across high-demand industries,” the White House said at the time. “The group will convene voices from the public, private, education, labor, and not-for-profit sectors to enhance employment opportunities for Americans of all ages.”

The National Council for the American Worker was initially co-chair by U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross; senior adviser Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter; and Director of the Domestic Policy Council Joseph Grogan.

In a tweet on Thursday, Ivanka Trump claimed the panel had “reached 12 MILLION (!!!!) commitments to train & skill American workers from +300 companies.”

Levin touts support for national pro-union legislation

However, Wilson said the council hasn’t lived up to its mission statement.

“[President Trump] has sold out working people,” Wilson said.

As for the upcoming 2020 presidential election, Jones, who didn’t vote for Trump but pointed out that some of his union members did, said, “We’ve got an opportunity coming up to not make the same mistake twice.” 

Ken Coleman
Ken Coleman reports on Southeast Michigan, education, civil rights and voting rights. He is a former Michigan Chronicle senior editor and served as the American Black Journal segment host on Detroit Public Television. He has written and published four books on black life in Detroit, including Soul on Air: Blacks Who Helped to Define Radio in Detroit and Forever Young: A Coleman Reader. His work has been cited by the Detroit News, Detroit Free Press, History Channel and CNN. Additionally, he was an essayist for the award-winning book, Detroit 1967: Origins, Impacts, Legacies. Ken has served as a spokesperson for the Michigan Democratic Party, Detroit Public Schools, U.S. Sen. Gary Peters and U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence. Previously to joining the Advance, he worked for the Detroit Federation of Teachers as a communications specialist. He is a Historical Society of Michigan trustee and a Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit advisory board member.

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