Reprinted from New York Magazine by Ed Kilgore on November 17, 2016.
One of the grand ironies of Donald Trump’s elevation to the presidency is that this self-proclaimed champion of the (white) working class is poised to become the most anti-labor chief executive in US history. His victories in the old labor strongholds of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and (apparently) Michigan were shocking enough — as was his relatively strong performance nationally in union households (Clinton won them by 8 percent, down from Obama’s 2012 margin of 18 percent).
Aside from Trump’s pledge to renegotiate NAFTA and other trade agreements, there’s really nothing in his history or his campaign platform to please the labor movement. Yes, he has boasted of getting along with union people in running his hotels and other businesses, but that does not really separate him from any other employer operating in places like New York. He has very specifically endorsed “right-to-work” laws that keep unions from receiving membership dues from all employees in a shop where they are the recognized collective-bargaining agent. More tangibly, his massively pre-vetted list of potential replacements for Justice Antonin Scalia and a Republican Senate prepared to confirm a right-wing justice will virtually guarantee a fifth vote making the collection of representation fees from non-members benefiting from public employee union contracts unconstitutional once the Friedrichs v. CTA case (which generated a 4-4 tie the last time SCOTUS heard it) makes its way back to the High Court. That encouragement of “free riders” will be a terrible, terrible blow to public employee unions, by far the most vibrant segment of the labor movement.
Another likely opportunity for Trump to quickly screw over workers will be as part of his pledge to reverse all of Barack Obama’s executive orders on day one of his presidency. …