The Art of the Deal is More the Art of the Dupe

Richard Cucarese

Richard Cucarese Rapid Response Coordinator, USW Local 4889

“Buy American, hire American.”  It’s become President Donald Trump’s sing-song mantra. It’s key to his “Making America Great Again.” It’s part of his waxing nostalgic about how he’s the true master of the art of the deal. It’s key to his tales of storming through the boardrooms of corporate America, causing CEOs to cower in his presence as he mandates that American jobs be preserved, and even expanded, or else there will be hell to pay from him in defense of the long-suffering American worker.

To a weakened working class, it raised hopes that there would be a voice in Washington to resurrect of our beleaguered industrial might. It evoked senses of optimism that there would be no more one-sided, mega trade deals which have decimated our industrial landscape.

But do President Trump’s words hold truth?  From the way he’s backpedaled, and basically shown his hand as being nothing more than a great manipulator, the outlook for the American worker returning to the days of solid employment, strong wages, pensions and exemplary benefits is poor.

Take a look at Buy American for infrastructure.  President Trump came storming into office saying he would tear up any deal, past, present or future, not including a provision requiring American steel, from the point of melting until the finished product is delivered.

Then he agreed to allow foreign steel in the recently approved Keystone XL pipeline.

The backpedaling begins. Now he says the requirement may (key word here; MAY) only be valid for future deals.

Does this sound like what American workers were promised? For workers, such as the thousands still laid off from U.S. Steel’s Granite City Works, this is a slap in the face.

What makes the situation even worse and reeking of typical D.C. politics as usual, Russia’s NLMK and California Steel Industries, which is owned by a Brazilian and Japanese conglomerate, have lobbied Congress hard to kill the “Buy America, Melt to Finish” provision altogether.

Squire Patton Boggs, the main lobbyist for foreign steel, has ties to Speaker Ryan, who has attempted ad nauseam to block Buy American provisions.  How come President Trump is not taking on his party or foreign steel lobbyists?

Now, pundits are saying Republicans in Congress, reeling from their failure to overturn the Affordable Care Act, plan to offer nothing but a diluted and diminished infrastructure bill.

If the American public is learning one thing about diplomacy, détente and the power of the Office of the President, it is that Trump displays none of the qualities necessary to deliver on the “Art of the Deal.”  Instead, we are left to sift through the rubble produced by a narcissistic individual surrounding himself with sniveling, sophomoric, testosterone-overdriven alpha males who equate policy and diplomacy with 140-character tweets.

And once again American manufacturing workers are left in the cold to fend for themselves.

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You can contact Richard on Twitter @stlwrkr4889.

Posted In: Union Matters

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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