The rise and fall of the American working class exactly parallels the rise and fall of American labor unions. Here are 5 reasons why Trump’s victory could be the death knell for labor unions, and therefore the end of the working class:
1. Since the 2010 elections, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin — all previously strong union states — have all effectively eliminated collective bargaining rights for public employees. Under Trump and Republican governors and legislatures, more states will follow.
2. These three states have also subjected private-sector unions to “right-to-work” laws that enable workers to benefit from union contracts and representation without having to pay their union any dues – a back-door way to kill off unions. With Trump as president, and Republicans in charge of more states, expect more such laws.
3. Trump will almost certainly repeal Obama’s Labor Department rules extending eligibility for overtime pay to millions of salaried employees making more than $22,000 a year, and compelling federal contractors to offer paid sick leave to their employees.
4. Ditto for National Labor Relations Board rulings that employers cannot indefinitely delay union representation elections once their employees have petitioned for a vote, and that university graduate students who work as teaching and research assistants are employees who can elect to unionize, will probably be undone.
5. Once a Trump-appointed conservative wins confirmation to the Supreme Court, the Court is likely to do what it was poised to do before Antonin Scalia’s death — ruling that public employee unions no longer have the right to collect partial dues payments from the nonmembers they represent in disputes with employers and for whom they bargain contracts. This will help destroy public employee unions.
Trump campaigned as the savior of the American working class. He will be its final undoing.
As Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin – states that once were the stronghold of the nation’s industrial union movement – dropped into Donald Trump’s column on election night, one longtime union staff member told me that Trump’s victory was “an extinction-level event for American labor.” He may be right.