Labor Leaders Slam Trump for Betraying Working People 

Jul 14, 2020

July 14, 2020
Contact: Philip Shulman (phils@wisdems.org)

Labor Leaders Slam Trump for Betraying Working People 

(WISCONSIN) — In 2016, Trump campaigned across Wisconsin pledging to be a champion for working people — that he’d improve wages, create jobs, and lower health care and prescription drug costs. But since taking office Trump has broken every one of those promises, with his policies putting the rich and well-connected ahead of working people.

The tax law Trump pushed through was a boon for large corporations, including those in Wisconsin like Kimberly Clark, that used the handout to shutter their facilities, issue stock buybacks, and lay off workers instead of creating jobs and increasing wages. In fact, working Wisconsinites will ultimately end up paying more in taxes to pay for the $1 trillion hole it blew in the deficit.

Trump’s failed COVID-19 has also led to Wisconsin factory workers losing their jobs and livelihood. As he continues to ignore the pandemic and infection rates spike across the Badger state and America, more workers will lose their jobs with no replacement to help them pay for their rent, health insurance, or the food they put on their families’ tables.

On top of killing millions of jobs across the country, Trump is continuing his efforts to strip health care from millions of Wisconsinites, including putting in danger protections for the 2.1 million Wisconsinites who have a pre-existing condition.

Labor leaders blasted Trump for his continued attacks on working Wisconsinites:

AFL-CIO State Treasurer Dennis Delie: “In 2016 Donald Trump came to Wisconsin masquerading as a savior for working people, but every decision he has made as president has been about helping the already rich and powerful. Instead of creating jobs and increasing wages, Trump’s tax-scam bill encouraged outsourcing, rewarded executives with even bigger bonuses, and left working Wisconsinites behind. And now his disastrous response to the COVID-19 pandemic has put essential workers at risk as he continues to ignore the deadly realities of this virus.”

United Steelworkers District 2 Director Michael Bolton: “The greatest trick Trump ever played on working people was making them believe he cared about them. Even before the pandemic hit, everything Trump has done as president has made it harder for working Wisconsinites to get ahead. From attacking labor standards to trying to take health care away from millions of people across our state, Trump has never been about standing up for us. Even in the midst of a pandemic he couldn’t do the right thing, costing our country millions of jobs and using hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars as handouts for his country club buddies and giant corporations instead of the small businesses on main street that fuel our economy.”

President of UAW Local 72 and Vice-Chair of the UAW Wisconsin State Cap Council Jon Drew: “ I spent decades representing my fellow union members in Kenosha, Racine and Milwaukee for the UAW. Without a doubt, Donald Trump has been the worst President for working people in my lifetime. He lied about bringing manufacturing jobs back, his appointees to the NLRB and OSHA have turned those agencies against labor and his utter lack of leadership on COVID-19 has put front line workers at risk. He has done nothing to fix a broken health care system and is actually trying to make it worse. Wisconsin workers can’t afford four more years of Trump.”

Additional Background

Kimberly-Clark Said It Would Use Savings From The Republican Tax Law For A Restructuring Initiative That Would Including Laying Off 5,000 To 5,500 Workers And Closing Or Selling 10 Manufacturing Facilities. 
“Kimberly-Clark — maker of brands such as Kleenex, Scott and Huggies — said the savings it receives from the new tax-cut law will help them pay for a restructuring program that includes layoffs.  The company said the restructuring initiative, which the company was planning to undertake regardless of the tax law’s passage, will involve reducing its number of employees by about 5,000 to 5,500 people, or 12 to 13 percent of its workforce. Kimberly-Clark also said it plans to close or sell about 10 manufacturing facilities.” [The Hill, 1/24/18]

Kimberly-Clark Executives Said They Planned To Use Their Windfall From The Tax Law To Cover The Costs Of Shrinking Its Workforce By Up To 13 Percent And Closing Factories. 
“Kimberly-Clark, the Dallas-based maker of Kleenex, Huggies, Kotex and other consumer products, plans to use some of its windfall to cover the costs of shrinking its workforce by as much as 13 percent as it shutters factories and reorganizes operations… Chief Financial Officer Maria Henry said the company’s gains from the tax overhaul would help offset the cost of the restructuring plan.” [Washington Post, 1/23/18]

Kimberly-Clark Increased Dividend Payments For Shareholders And Planned To Spend $700 To $900 Million On Stock Buybacks.
“But at the same time, the company said it was raising its quarterly dividend to $1.00 a share from 97 cents a share, which based on 353.4 million shares outstanding as of Dec. 31, could cost the company an additional $42.4 million this year. The company also said it planned to spend between $700 million and $900 million to buy back its stock this year, after repurchasing $900 million worth of shares in 2017.” [MarketWatch, 1/23/18]

The GOP-Trump Tax Bill Would Raise Taxes On Low-And Middle-Income Wisconsin Residents By 2027…On Average, Wisconsin Taxpayers In The Middle Quintile Of Income Earners ($62,160 To $94,720) Would See Their Taxes Increase By $200 Under The GOP-Trump Tax Bill By 2027. [Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, 12/16/17]

Politico: The North America’s Building Trades Unions, Who Previously Embraced Trump, Were “At Brink Of War” With Him Over New Apprenticeship Rule. 
“One of the nation’s largest labor groups embraced Donald Trump at the start of his presidency, in hopes he would create construction jobs and retreat from proposals that might reduce workers’ wages. But now the two sides are on the brink of war, endangering a key bloc of Trump’s support in Midwestern swing states in 2020. At issue is a deal gone bad between Trump and North America’s Building Trades Unions over a Labor Department apprenticeship initiative.” [Politico, 8/16/19]

A Former Labor Leader Said Putting Non-Union Contractors In Charge Of Training And Providing Benefits For New Workers Is Like “The Fox Guarding The Henhouse.” 
“By contrast, the non-union contractors whom Trump would put in charge of training new workers offer low pay, no benefits, no pensions, and no job security, either. John Gaal, retired director of training and workforce development for the St. Louis-Kansas City Carpenters Regional Council, said of Trump’s scheme: ‘It’s the fox guarding the henhouse.’” [People’s World, 8/15/19]

A Plumber Wrote To The Labor Department Warning That Under The Finalized Apprenticeship Rule “Highly Trained American Workers Will Be Replaced With Poorly Trained, Underpaid Workers, Who Could Be Easily Exploited By Unscrupulous Contractors.” 
“‘As I understand the proposed rules for Industry Programs, the standards for training won’t be as rigorous and apprentices could be paid the minimum wage,’ one plumber wrote to the Labor Department. ‘If this system is permitted in the construction industry, highly trained American workers will be replaced with poorly trained, underpaid workers, who could be easily exploited by unscrupulous contractors.’” [CQ, 9/16/19]