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A State Of Labor 2020 Perspective From Union Built PC’s Pete Marchese: “One Thing Has Become Quite Obvious, Labor Unions Cannot Survive Another Four Years Of Donald Trump”

Published Sunday, September 6, 2020
by Union Built PC’s Pete Marchese
A State Of Labor 2020 Perspective From Union Built PC’s Pete Marchese: “One Thing Has Become Quite Obvious, Labor Unions Cannot Survive Another Four Years Of Donald Trump”

Donald Trump has launched an all-out assault on Workers’ Rights and the Labor Movement.  

In many respects, the Trump Administration has followed in the footsteps of Republican Ronald Reagan - who wrote the book on weakening Unions.  

Trump has taken aim at Unions mostly through the National Labor Relations Board, (NLRB) whose job it is to protect the rights of Private Sector Workers and encourage Collective Bargaining.  

Private Sector Workers are now barred from bringing Workplace Grievances through the courts themselves, so filing complaints with the NLRB - which has more than two dozen regional offices spread across the country - is how Employees can seek justice if they feel their rights have been violated

If an issue doesn’t get settled at the regional level, it gets kicked up to the agency’s five-person panel in Washington, D.C., which issues a decision. 

Few Presidents have been as successful as Trump in weakening Federal Unions.

Trump’s NLRB has kept busy, handing down a spate of decisions that align with employer interests and overturn Obama-era decisions. (See our Union Strong Blog for more)

New NLRB decisions make it harder for Workers and Union Representatives to discuss issues on employer property, and give employers more power to unilaterally change Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs).

These may seem to be minor changes - but in time they have had a devastating effect on the potency of Unions.  

Unfortunately, the Republican stacked NLRB seems to not only view their job as to weaken the law as it pertains to Workers’ Rights, but also amp up scrutiny of Unions and penalties against them.

The Trump Administration has also been working to weaken the NLRB.

The number of full-time Employees working in the agency dropped by 10% during Trump’s first two years in office, including 17% fewer regional field staff.

That puts the Nation’s roughly 129 million Private Sector Workers at a disadvantage because they can’t bring their grievances through the courts, and with fewer NLRB Staff available to process their complaints, they have hit a wall.  

Over the past three years, with the strong encouragement of Trump, agencies have taken steps to strip Federal Workers of their Union Rights and undermine their negotiated contracts.  

The Trump Administration instructed agencies to move as fast as possible to restrict Unions in Federal workplaces.

Could you possibly imagine what a second Trump term might do?

It would be devastating to Labor Unions.

Given a first term was focused on making it tougher for Workers to unionize, a second term would likely mean more attention directed toward regulating Gig Workers - like Uber Drivers, who aren’t afforded the protections of traditional Employees like Minimum Wage, overtime, Unemployment Insurance, and the right to join a Union. 

In a 2019 decision, the NLRB reversed an Obama-era ruling to find that Super Shuttle Drivers were independent contractors, not Employees.

The agency’s general counsel, Peter Robb, another Trump appointee, reinforced that decision, issuing a memorandum declaring the same thing about Uber Drivers.

That sends a strong message to Gig Workers to not bother bringing any new cases to the NLRB on this topic.  

But there has been some push-back.  

In 2020 new law known as AB5 went into effect in California, highlighting the misclassification of Employees as independent contractors.

Other states, like New York and New Jersey, have passed their own laws that would make it harder for employers to classify their Workers as contractors.

But one thing has become quite obvious, Labor Unions cannot survive another four years of Donald Trump.

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