AFL-CIO Analysis of President Donald Trump’s FY 2018 Budget

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka made the following statement regarding President Donald Trump’s proposed budget:

 “Working people in states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin didn’t vote for a budget that slashes workforce training and fails to invest in our nation’s infrastructure. President Trump’s proposed budget attempts to balance the budget on the backs of working families. The $54 billion cut to programs that benefit working families is dangerous and destructive. Huge cuts to the departments of Labor, Education and Transportation will make workplaces less safe, put more children at risk and make improving our failing infrastructure much more difficult. The administration can and should do better.”

 The budget abandons the future—slashing investments in workers, communities, young people, protecting our environment and building democracy. There are major cuts in job training, education, health programs, the environment, the arts and foreign aid. Research programs in science and medicine are slashed. Sixty-two government programs/agencies are slated for elimination.

Here are some key highlights:

Department of Labor: Overall cut $2.5 billion (-20.7%)
The budget makes it harder for workers to get the training they need in order to advance in their industry and to compete globally.

  • Major cuts:
    • Job training/employment/re-employment
    • Senior Community Service Employment Program eliminated
    • Job Corps
    • Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB) grants eliminated
    • Safety and health training grants eliminated

Department of Health and Human Services: Overall cut $12.6 billion (-16.2%)

People suffering from terminal diseases will be affected by lack of new medicines, and low-income workers will not receive assistance to heat their homes during the cold months of winter.

  • Cuts National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding by 18.3% (-$5.8 billion)
  • Eliminates the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which provides assistance to help low-income people heat and cool their homes
  • Eliminates $403 million in health professions and nursing training programs
  • Restructures the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and directs money to states through block grants
  • Increases funding for opioid prevention and treatment services by $500 million

Department of Education: Overall cut $9.2 billion (-13.5%)

This budget would destroy public schools and eliminate much-needed training for teachers. It also makes it harder for young people to go to college.

  • Increases funding for school choice by $1.4 billion
    • Redirects $418 million to private/charter schools
    • Eliminates $2.4 billion for Supporting Effective Instruction state grants
    • Reduces or eliminates funding for teacher-preparation programs (State Teacher Quality/Supporting Effective Instruction grants)
    • Eliminates federal funding for before- and after-school and summer-school programs
    • Eliminates the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant program, which provides grants for students with the greatest need

Department of State: Overall cut $10.9 billion (-28.7%)

The budget would harm workers around the world who are standing up to multinational corporations and repressive governments that restrict workers’ rights and lower wages.

  • Cuts funding for U.N. programs
  • Reorganizes and consolidates U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) programs

Department of Treasury: Overall cut of $0.5 billion (-4.4%)

These cuts allow the super-wealthy and corporations to get away with not paying taxes and allow big banks to crush small community banks.

  • Cuts IRS by $239 million
  • Eliminates funding for the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund

Department of Transportation: Overall cut $2.4 billion (-12.7%)

This will mean less investment in railroads and airlines at a time when our nation has an infrastructure deficit of over $4 trillion.

  • Privatizes air traffic control 
  • Restructures and cuts federal subsidies for Amtrak
  • Cuts funding for the Federal Transit Administration’s Capital Investment Grant Program

This will mean more resources to enforce our nation’s trade laws. Our current trade policy has put corporations ahead of workers—resulting in jobs shipped overseas and lower wages.

  • Strengthens International Trade Administration’s trade enforcement/compliance assistance
  • Eliminates the Economic Development Administration, the Minority Business Development Agency and the Manufacturing Extension Partnership

Environmental Protection Agency: Overall cut $2.6 billion (-31.4%)

These cuts will make our drinking water less safe and our air more toxic. 

  • Claims to maintain funding for drinking water and wastewater infrastructure
  • Discontinues funding for Clean Power Plan
  • Reduces funding for Superfund cleanup
  • Eliminates 50 EPA programs
  • Cuts enforcement programs

Veterans Affairs: Overall increase $4.4 billion (+6.0%)

These funds provide much-needed resources for our nation’s veterans.

  • $4.6 billion increase for VA health care to improve access and timeliness of medical service
  • $3.5 billion in mandatory budget authority to extend and fund the Veterans Choice Program, which provides the option to see a private provider. The program was set to expire in August 2017.

Selected programs proposed for elimination

The budget targets for elimination arts and music programs and legal aid for the poor. Planning a future for the communities of Appalachia and protection from hazardous chemicals are also on the chopping block.

  • Appalachian Regional Commission
  • Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program
  • Chemical Safety Board
  • Corporation for Public Broadcasting
  • Legal Services Corporation
  • National Endowment for the Arts
  • National Endowment for the Humanities
  • Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC)


Reposted from the AFL-CIO.

Posted In: Allied Approaches, From AFL-CIO

Union Matters

Freight can’t wait

From the USW

From tumbledown bridges to decrepit roads and failing water systems, crumbling infrastructure undermines America’s safety and prosperity. In coming weeks, Union Matters will delve into this neglect and the urgent need for a rebuilding campaign that creates jobs, fuels economic growth and revitalizes communities.

A freight train hauling lumber and nylon manufacturing chemicals derailed, caught fire and caused a 108-year-old bridge to collapse in Tempe, Ariz., this week, in the second accident on the same bridge within a month.

The bridge was damaged after the first incident, according to Union Pacific railroad that owns the rail bridge, and re-opened two days later. 

The official cause of the derailments is still under investigation, but it remains clear that the failure to modernize and maintain America’s railroad infrastructure is dangerous. 

In 2019, 499 trains that derailed were found to have defective or broken track, roadbed or structures, according to the Federal Railroad Administration’s database of safety analysis.

While railroad workers’ unions have called for increased safety improvements, rail companies have also used technology and automation as an excuse to downsize their work forces.

For example, rail companies have implemented a cost-saving measure known as Precision Scheduled Railroading (PSR), which has resulted in mass layoffs and shoddy safety protocols. 

Though privately-owned railroads have spent significantly to upgrade large, Class I trains, regional Class II trains and local, short-line Class III trains that carry important goods for farmers and businesses still rely on state and local funds for improvements. 

But cash-strapped states struggle to adequately inspect new technologies and fund safety improvements, and repairing or replacing the aging track and rail bridges will require significant public investment.

A true infrastructure commitment will not only strengthen the country’s railroad networks and increase U.S. global economic competitiveness. It will also create millions of family-sustaining jobs needed to inspect, repair and manufacture new parts for mass transit systems, all while helping to prevent future disasters.

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work