Labor Day will soon be upon us, and while it is important to celebrate the American workforce, we must also unpack the anti-worker campaign being carried out by the Trump administration. When he was running for office, President Trump said that, if elected, “the American worker will finally have a president who will protect them and fight for them.” That statement was false, as the following list (which isn’t even comprehensive) demonstrates.
The list combines executive orders that have been signed and are being implemented, legislation that Trump supports that has been passed by the Republican majority in Congress, and a strategy of delay-and-ignore regarding labor safety, standards and rights. Yes, a lot of what follows is down in the weeds in terms of labor policy. But the broader theme is crystal clear and mustn’t be lost: When it comes to supporting the jobs and living standards of many of the voters who helped elect him, Trump is not simply failing. He is actively working to make people’s lives worse.
Undermining workers’ pay and financial security:
* The Obama-era overtime rule was intended to take effect Dec. 1, 2016, but it was senselessly blocked by a federal judge before it had a chance to kick in. Instead of fighting for this much-needed update to an important labor standard (the salary threshold below which workers must get overtime pay is 56 percent below its 1975 level, after adjusting for inflation), the Trump Labor Department has begun a process to revise the rule to make it cover fewer workers. Millions of workers can be expected to continue working longer hours at lower pay than they otherwise would be if the Trump administration undertook a full-throated defense of the rule.
* Another Obama-era rule, the “fiduciary rule,” would have required financial advisers to act in their clients’ best interest (instead of choosing investments that provide the advisers with the most…