Six Things You Didn’t Know Trump and Congress Are Working On

Celine McNicholas

Celine McNicholas Labor Counsel, Economic Policy Institute

For the first six months of Donald Trump’s presidency, what exactly have he and Congress been working on?
 
While the media and many advocacy groups have been focused on the Trump-Russia investigation and health care repeal, EPI’s Perkins Project is your watchdog unit monitoring, analyzing, and publicizing any attempts to dismantle the laws and regulations that protect working people and their families.

Here are six policies that you might have missed that Donald Trump and Congress are trying to enact while they think we’re not looking:
 
Wall Street vs. Retirees―Earlier this month, the “Fiduciary Rule”―passed by President Obama’s Department of Labor―went into effect. But Donald Trump’s Department of Labor is refusing to enforce it. The Fiduciary Rule requires Wall Street advisers to provide retirement investment advice that’s in your best interests, not the adviser’s. Stopping these conflicts of interest would save retirees $17 billion each year in charges and fees. Donald Trump is siding with Wall Street over current and future retirees.

Corporations vs. Working People―Last year, we worked hard to update the overtime pay rule, which would allow 12.5 million people to receive the overtime pay they deserve. But now, Donald Trump’s Department of Labor is preparing to open up a new comment period in an attempt to undermine and kill this new rule. Trump is siding with corporate lobbyists who are trying to rob working people of their right to overtime pay.

Union Busters in the White House and Congress―Donald Trump’s Department of Labor is rescinding the “persuader rule,” which previously required employers to disclose if they had hired a consultant to “persuade” employees against joining together in union. Scrapping this rule gives union-busting CEOs a break and robs working people of the freedom to make an informed choice in a union election. Donald Trump is turning his back on working people by allowing corporations—with no consequences or oversite—to stop their employees from joining together to improve their jobs.

And, while the President’s Department of Labor is giving union-busting CEOs a break, Congress is trying even harder to prevent working people from joining together to negotiate for a fair return on their work. This month, the U.S. House Subcommittee on Health, Labor, Employment and Pensions discussed three anti-union bills.

The Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act would enable employers to disrupt workers trying to organize in union by packing the vote with workers who do not share the interests of those who are organizing. This would make it very difficult for working people to win a union. And―in a true double standard―this bill would make it harder for working people to grow their power in numbers because it restricts the freedom to easily add new staff to an existing union. The true goal of the legislation has nothing to do with employee fairness. It’s to ensure that working people don’t have the freedom to come together and negotiate with their employers for a fair return on their work.

The Employee Privacy Protection Act, also being debated in Congress, would unfairly restrict people organizing a union from contacting employees. Under current law, a union has the right to a list of names, job classifications, work locations, shifts, and contact information for potential union members within two days after a group of working people decide to negotiate together. The EPPA would require that the voter information be provided to the union “not earlier than 7 days” after it is requested. However, the bill does not provide a maximum waiting time. So, the employees organizing in union could receive the information the day before the election. Further, the EPPA restricts the contact information that would be shared. The bill forces a worker to select, in writing, one form of contact information (telephone, email, or mailing address) to provide. If a worker wanted to provide multiple contacts, this bill would prohibit that.

The Employee Rights Act is the most far-reaching of the three measures considered by the committee. It requires that a union win the support of the majority of all employees eligible to vote in the union election—not just those workers who actually cast a ballot. Imagine if congressional elections worked that way! None of the members who sponsored this legislation would have been elected!
 
It’s clear that these rules aren’t about protecting working people or creating jobs—they’re about who gets to benefit from our hard work. When working people lose the freedom to speak up together, the rich and powerful will continue to rig the rules in their favor and at our expense.

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Reposted from the EPI.

Posted In: Allied Approaches

Union Matters

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: National Association of Letter Carriers

From the AFL-CIO

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the National Association of Letter Carriers.

Name of Union: National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC)

Mission: To unite fraternally all city letter carriers employed by the U.S. Postal Service for their mutual benefit; to obtain and secure rights as employees of the USPS and to strive at all times to promote the safety and the welfare of every member; to strive for the constant improvement of the Postal Service; and for other purposes. NALC is a single-craft union and is the sole collective-bargaining agent for city letter carriers.

Current Leadership of Union: Fredric V. Rolando serves as president of NALC, after being sworn in as the union's 18th president in 2009. Rolando began his career as a letter carrier in 1978 in South Miami before moving to Sarasota in 1984. He was elected president of Branch 2148 in 1988 and served in that role until 1999. In the ensuing years, he worked in various roles for NALC before winning his election as a national officer in 2002, when he was elected director of city delivery. In 2006, he won election as executive vice president. Rolando was re-elected as NALC president in 2010, 2014 and 2018.

Brian Renfroe serves as executive vice president, Lew Drass as vice president, Nicole Rhine as secretary-treasurer, Paul Barner as assistant secretary-treasurer, Christopher Jackson as director of city delivery, Manuel L. Peralta Jr. as director of safety and health, Dan Toth as director of retired members, Stephanie Stewart as director of the Health Benefit Plan and James W. “Jim” Yates as director of life insurance.

Number of Members: 291,000 active and retired letter carriers.

Members Work As: City letter carriers.

Industries Represented: The United States Postal Service.

History: In 1794, the first letter carriers were appointed by Congress as the implementation of the new U.S. Constitution was being put into effect. By the time of the Civil War, free delivery of city mail was established and letter carriers successfully concluded a campaign for the eight-hour workday in 1888. The next year, letter carriers came together in Milwaukee and the National Association of Letter Carriers was formed.

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work