America’s labor leaders are planning a massive attack on Donald Trump despite the fact that many unionized workers plan to vote for the billionaire candidate.
Just to give you an idea of how much power these unions have, here are just a few of the unions that have donated to Hillary Clinton:
• Laborers Union: $4,000,886
• Operating Engineers Union: $2,010,000
• Plumbers/Pipefitters Union: $2,008,265
America is home to nearly 15 million unionized workers. Traditionally, most of those votes and over 90% of union donations go to the Dems. This time around, Donald Trump has caused an unprecedented shift among union workers who find his pugnacious personality and his populist positions on trade and jobs appealing.
The billionaire’s message resonates with working-class families struggling to make ends meet and those who have lost jobs to foreign workers as companies continue to outsource.
Trump’s promises are appealing to both Democrats and Republicans, admits President John Cakmakci of United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 951 in Michigan. “Trump portrays himself as someone who is going to get it done: ‘I am going to get these jobs back.’ But the fact of the matter is: how are you going to get them back? But people don’t want to know that. They just like that five-second simple solution to the problem.”
Cakmakci is one of many union leaders who just isn’t buying it. President Richard Trumka of AFL-CIO (the country’s largest federation of labor unions) spoke out against Trump this month during his organization’s annual convention. “We can’t be fooled,” he said. “Trump isn’t interested in solving the problems he yells and swears about. He delivers punch lines, but there’s nothing funny about them.”
As Hillary Clinton continues to pull ahead of Bernie Sanders with wins this week in Delaware, Connecticut, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, organized labor is plotting a multi-pronged attack against Donald Trump is an effort to weaken his appeal and lessen his chances of winning the GOP nomination.
“Trump has some appeal at this point, there’s no question about that,” admits Steve Rosenthal, a former AFL-CIO political director. “But when you cut through it and begin to focus on his record – from his talk about trade agreements, to manufacturing abroad to offshoring jobs – Donald Trump is not going to appeal to union members.”
The Service Employees International Union and many others have endorsed Hillary Clinton, but the AFL-CIO has yet to make a decision. In the near future, the organization plans to ramp up its door-knocking campaign and launch a slew of anti-Trump digital advertisements.
To find out just how popular Donald Trump has become among the working class, Working America (AFL-CIO’s political organizing arm) interviewed roughly 1,600 individuals living in families earning less than $75,000 per year.
Turns out, many of America’s disaffected workers don’t agree with their union bosses. Donald Trump was the clear favorite. “While most of Trump’s support comes from the staunch Republican base, one in four Democrats who chose a candidate showed a preference for Trump,” reads the Working America report. Here’s a personal story to explain why:
Jared Szczesny works for Accuride Wheel End Solutions in Erie, Pennsylvania. He is a member of the United Automobile, Aerospace, and Agricultural Implement Workers of America Union (UAW).
Although his union has yet to endorse a candidate, it will probably back a Democrat. Nonetheless, Szczesny voted for Donald Trump yesterday in Pennsylvania’s primary. Szczesny doesn’t have much time to listen to campaign speeches (he works 7 days a week), but he knew Trump was the right choice after he read the billionaire’s book The Art of the Deal.
“I work a half of a block from GE, where layoffs come in the thousands every couple of years or so,” explains Szczesny. “There are no jobs around here. People scrounge for work, or work multiple jobs. I get tired of seeing my family and friends and loved ones struggling over financial issues so often.”
The real estate mogul’s business acumen is what makes the candidate so appealing to Szczesny and several of his coworkers. “He is not a typical politician. He has been in the working world, even as a young boy building houses with his father. He’s not a career politician. He cares about jobs.”
Earlier this month, Donald Trump vowed to revive the coal and steel industries in the Pittsburgh area should be become president. “There are few places that have been more devastated by our trade policies than Pittsburgh. Don’t worry, we’re bringing it all back,” he announced to a crowd of 9,000.
“I am very conservative and do not agree with everything Mr. Trump says or does, but I recognize him as the best candidate, and a great one at that,” says Szczesny.