Ivanka Trump Praises the American Worker, Gets Criticized for Her Own Labor Practices

Elizabeth Brotherton-Bunch

Elizabeth Brotherton-Bunch Digital Media Director, Alliance for American Manufacturing

First Daughter and White House adviser Ivanka Trump stirred up some controversy on Tuesday after an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity:

In case you can’t get the technology to work, Trump was on the program to tout the Trump administration’s tax reform push.

“I believe with my heart and soul, and my father does and this administration does, that no one can best the American worker. There is no group of people more innovative, more motivated, more capable,” Trump said. “But there’s got to be a level playing field and there’s not a level playing field.”

It all sounds nice, right? Here at the Alliance for American Manufacturing, we certainly agree that the American worker can compete against anybody on the planet — and if you venture to these parts often enough, you know that we use the phrase “level the playing field” pretty frequently, too.

The problem, of course, is that Ivanka Trump’s actions (and that of her father) speak louder than words.

After the interview, Trump was quickly taken to task for relying on foreign workers to make the products for her own fashion line. In fact, you might remember that earlier this year three labor activists were even detained in China after investigating the working conditions at factories that make Ivanka Trump brand goods.

And President Trump isn’t immune to criticism on this front, either. He fairly regularly is called out for touting Made in America while also making his own products overseas. In 2016, we even put together a handy list of American-made suggestions for the Trump International Hotel in Washington, since it’s stocked with mostly foreign-made stuff.

For their own personal branding purposes, we hope that the entire Trump family — we’re not forgetting about you, Eric! — finally takes our advice and begins to shift at least some of its production here. Ivanka Trump reshoring production of even just some of her shoes, for example, would signal that she’s willing to put her money where her mouth is — and be a way to publicly encourage other companies to do the same.

But frankly, we are far more concerned about the policy work Team Trump is doing to help American workers, and the administration’s ability to keep its promises.

Things aren’t going great right now.

Trump has yet to pursue many of the things he pledged to do during the campaign. The president last week declined yet again to name China a currency manipulator — despite a pledge to do so on his first day in office. Infrastructure investment remains stalled; Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao says the White House won’t even unveil a plan until after tax reform is complete.

That’s the same excuse, by the way, that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross gave about why the administration has yet to release the findings of its “Section 232” national security investigations into steel and aluminum imports, despite pledging to do so by the end of June.

We’ve spent a lot of time talking about those investigations, and with good reason: Trump’s continued inaction is making the crisis worse. Steel imports alone have jumped more than 21 percent as importers acted in anticipation of the report. Two steel mills in Pennsylvania announced layoffs in recent weeks; tens of thousands of American workers have faced layoffs since the crisis began. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and other Democrats even wrote to Trump on Monday to tell him to end the delays.

So while it’s fair to criticize the president and his daughter for making their own goods overseas, we’d be far more forgiving if the administration was actually making good on its policy and trade enforcement promises to the American worker.

Seems like wrapping up those 232 investigations would be a good place to start.


Reposted from AAM

Posted In: Allied Approaches, From Alliance for American Manufacturing

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