'Conspicuously absent' GOP’s claim of backing labor unions is 'almost comical': column

'Conspicuously absent' GOP’s claim of backing labor unions is 'almost comical': column
U.S. Department of Agriculture USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack met with the men and women of United Auto Workers Local 450 as they continue their fight for a fair wage, better benefits, and a secure retirement at the John Deere Des Moines Works, in Ankeny, Iowa, on October 20, 2021. USDA Photo by Lance Cheung. Image via Picryl.

In a Tuesday, September 19 op-ed published by The New Yorker, longtime staff writer and columnist John Cassidy argues ex-President Donald Trump and Republican lawmakers' claim of supporting the United Auto Workers (UAW) is laughable.

"What about Trump and Pence and the rest of the Republican U.A.W. stalwarts?" Cassidy writes. "So far, they have been conspicuously absent."

He notes that this week, UAW President Shawn Fain said, "Every fiber of our union is being poured into fighting the billionaire class and an economy that enriches people like Donald Trump at the expense of workers."

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Cassidy emphasizes, "Most Republicans have consistently opposed legislative efforts to reverse that trend, including two bills that would have made it easier for unions to organize: the Employee Free Choice Act, which a Democratic-controlled House passed in 2007, and the Protecting the Right to Organize (pro) Act, which the House passed in 2019 and again in 2021."

Just days ago, the columnist notes the MAGA hopeful told NBC News, "The autoworkers are being sold down the river by their leadership, and their leadership should endorse Trump."

However, comparing the ex-president's labor record with President Joe Biden's, he writes, "After taking power in 2017," Trump "restored the Republican majority on the five-person National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the agency that was established during the New Deal to support workers' rights to organize and bargain collectively," which led to the agency's quick reversal of "several pro-labor rulings that it had issued during the [ex-President Barack] Obama Administration, including one that made it easier for workers at fast-food franchises to organize."

Cassidy notes that under Biden's leadership, "the agency has abrogated many of its Trump-era rulings, including the ones related to voting procedures and independent contractors. Last month, the N.L.R.B. ruled that if a company engages in intimidatory behavior during a unionization election, such as firing union organizers, the agency will order the company to recognize the union and bargain collectively."

READ MORE: 'Even Henry Ford understood' that underpaid workers 'don’t have money' to buy things: ex-labor secretary

Cassidy writes:

Politics is politics, but the sight of senior Republicans posing as the true friends of the union workers is so outlandish as to be almost comical. From Trump on down, the G.O.P. has spent decades siding with employers and seeking to frustrate union efforts to organize workplaces and raise wages. Even as it has sought to rebrand itself as a workers' party, the G.O.P.'s actions have made a mockery of this claim.

John Cassidy's full op-ed is available at this link.

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