Teamsters Leader Says President Trump “Could Have Done More For Us” - James Hoffa Has Been A ‘Vocal Supporter’ Of Trump’s Trade Moves, But Says The President “Hasn’t Delivered” For Union Members
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - In January 2017, James Hoffa had plenty of kind things to say about Republican President Donald Trump. The Teamsters’ top leader appeared on television during Trump’s first days in office to say the new President was doing “amazing things,” particularly by bucking GOP orthodoxy on trade deals. But now, two years and nine months into the Trump Era, Hoffa seems a lot less impressed with the President’s record. He’s hopeful a renegotiated North American Free Trade Agreement can help U.S. workers, but he says Trump is largely failing to deliver for the typical wage-earner and hasn’t held up his end of a campaign bargain.
“(Trump) made promises about how he would be (Workers’) champion. I think he can do better than what he’s done,” Hoffa told HuffPost. “I think he could have done more to help us with collective bargaining, more to help us with pensions. I think he could have done more for us.”
Hoffa, who’s been the Teamsters’ General President since 1999, was part of a faction within Organized Labor that was eager to work with Trump whenever possible. While some Unions in the Public and Service Sectors have roasted Trump ever since he became the GOP nominee, the Teamsters and some Building Trade Unions have struck a more collaborative posture, hoping to score some wins on issues like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), steel tariffs and the Keystone XL pipeline.
But while Hoffa first saw Trump as a different kind of Republican on trade, the President has turned out to be a stock Republican on other issues important to the Teamsters.
For example, Trump’s appointees to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) have made it considerably harder for many workers to join Unions.
And, Trump’s reshaping of the U.S. Supreme Court led to the worst ruling against Organized Labor in a generation with Janus v. AFSCME, expanding Right-To-Work (for less) Policy to the entire U.S. Public Sector.
Those policies amount to a direct attack on Labor Groups like the Teamsters, which represents 1.4 million workers, including many in the Public Sector who can now opt out of paying Union Fees due to the Janus decision.
So far, Trump has not helped Retirees facing a looming pension crisis, either.
The Teamsters and other Unions with troubled Multi-Employer Pension Plans are staring down insolvency - retired Truckers, Coal Miners and other Blue-Collar Workers could end up getting pennies on the dollar for their Defined Benefit Plans.
While Democrats in Congress have been trying to hash out a rescue plan, Trump - who holds himself out as a dear friend of Truckers and Miners - doesn’t seem all that interested in finding a solution yet.
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