Labor in the Trump Years: A Series

Source: OnLabor blog, November 2016

Posts include:
Labor and Politics: Learning the Right Lessons from 2016
Source: Jake Rosenfeld, OnLabor blog, November 23, 2016

A presidential loss, especially an unexpected one, produces no shortage of scapegoating and second-guessing among activists and insiders of the defeated party. In this regard, the otherwise unprecedented 2016 election proved utterly normal. The emerging narrative pins the Clinton campaign’s shocking Electoral College defeat on its neglect of the white working-class, a constituency buffeted by decades of de-industrialization and declining union memberships. As evidence, adherents of this theory point to Rust Belt counties and states that flipped from blue to red between 2012 and 2016, and exit polls showing a smaller share of union households backing Hillary Clinton than Barack Obama. Journalists have had no trouble digging up disaffected white working-class voters who cast their first Republican ballot this year.

What’s remarkable is how quickly this narrative congealed into conventional wisdom. As an interpretation of what went wrong, it leads to one obvious path for Democrats to take going forward, summed up here by the Times’ David Leonhardt: “Figuring out how to win more white working-class votes, especially in the Midwest, has to be at the center of any Democratic comeback plan.”

Choosing this path would be a mistake….

Labor in the Trump Years: A Series
Source: Benjamin Sachs, November 16, 2016

The election of Donald Trump along with a Republican Congress presents a set of profound challenges and questions for the labor movement and for workers. As the readers of OnLabor know, the election of 2016 may mean (among other things): a national right to work law for the private sector; national right to work rules for the public sector (through the return of Friedrichs-type cases); the possibility that exclusive representation itself could eventually be ruled unconstitutional; a reshaped NLRB willing to undo much of what the Obama board has done, including on questions of joint employment, arbitration, graduate student organizing, and rules for non-union workplaces; a Department of Labor, potentially led by Scott Walker, and willing to undo what the historic Obama Department has achieved; workplace raids aimed at undocumented immigrant workers; a different approach to Title VII and the EEOC. The list, of course, continues…..

In This Moment, Labor Must Become a Movement
Source: Moshe Marvit, OnLabor blog, November 21, 2016

With the election of President-elect Donald Trump, labor faces a unique opportunity. Yes, it will face hostility in all branches of the federal government, and will have to maintain a multi-pronged fight. Yes, union density numbers are at historically low levels, and the bulwark of public-sector unionism may suffer a major blow at the Supreme Court through a case challenging the constitutionality of fair-share fees in the public sector. Yes, it will face unprecedented challenges to expand, let alone stay afloat. But in the midst of all this, labor has the opportunity to reform itself so that it can not only survive a Trump administration, but grow as well. Perhaps “opportunity” is the wrong word to describe the moment; labor has the existential imperative to reform itself, harness the existing energy, and lead a movement….

The Future of Labor
Source: Catherine Fisk, OnLabor blog, November 18, 2016

From the end of Reconstruction up through the election of 2016, political elites have done a masterful job convincing the white working class that they do not share a common interest with nonwhite workers.  They used regional differences to political advantage by convincing Southern and rural voters that Northerners, urbanites, and intellectuals disdain them.  The task for labor and the left now is to make sure that the 2016 election is the last time that happens.  Rather than demonize those who voted for Trump as bigots, labor should take their economic demands seriously.  Labor should seek common cause among all people around the economic issues that animated the vote for change.  White voters in Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin put Trump in office because he promised to improve their lives.  When he doesn’t deliver on his populist promises because his policy agenda is entirely about cutting taxes and freeing corporations from all labor regulation, labor must remind middle class and working class voters of all races and ethnicities that corporate interests are dominating a Trump Administration….
Related:
Donald Trump’s Supreme Court will be a real threat to labor — and that’s going to hurt the Democrats
Source: Amanda Marcotte, Salon, November 17, 2016
Nice work, Rust Belt! Trump’s high court is almost certain to undercut labor organizing and workplace rights

Trump, Sunk Cost Fallacies, and the Next Labor Movement
Source: David Rolf, OnLabor blog, November 16, 2016

….But although Donald Trump spent precious few words on labor law and labor policy during his campaign, it’s fair to expect that single-party Republican control of all three branches of the federal government will bring only bad news for America’s already-fading unions.

Between now and at least 2021, the best scenario that union leaders can reasonably hope for from the Federal government includes hostile appointments to the NLRB, the DOL, and the judiciary; a rolling-back of progressive Obama-era efforts to modernize both NLRB election procedure and DOL overtime rules; the use of regulation, budget-writing, procurement, and other government powers to chip away around the edges of prevailing wages, wage and hour protections, workplace safety, and nondiscrimination; total or partial repeal of Obamacare; and some short-term job creation if the President-elect is successful in passing an infrastructure package and renegotiating trade agreements on more favorable terms (and assuming he is simultaneously unsuccessful in deporting 11 million wage-earners and triggering a depression by doing so)…..