AFL-CIO secretary-treasurer Liz Shuler said Donald Trump has “signaled loud and clear that he does not value or respect women” and predicted that union members would “mobilize” to defeat the GOP nominee.
“It’s time women come together to put Hillary Clinton in the White House and win real change. Hillary Clinton has been side-by-side with working people her entire life and it’s working women who are going to be the ones to elect her president,” she said on a recent conference call about the presidential election.
“She has a long history of advocating for working families. She believes that paid family leave, earned sick days, fair schedules, equal pay for women and quality affordable childcare are critical for working families to thrive in today’s economy,” she added.
Shuler also said Clinton has “always stood” alongside working women and labor unions. She charged the GOP with attempting to “silence the voices” of women.
“We in the labor movement know Hillary Clinton is the only candidate for president, the only person who will fight to ensure that all working people, both women and men, make long overdue gains. She has always stood with working people and believes unions are critical to provide safe, good-paying jobs for people to sustain their families,” she said. “Donald Trump, on the other hand, thinks wages for working people are too high. He’s actually said that, and that’s why this election season union members are really going to mobilize across the country to defeat Trump.”
The AFL-CIO has formally endorsed Clinton. Trump’s first union endorsement came from the National Border Patrol Council, an affiliate of the AFL-CIO.
Lilly Ledbetter, a women’s equality activist and plaintiff in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., joined Shuler on the conference call.
Ledbetter claimed Trump called the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which President Obama signed into law, a “lawyer’s dream.” PJM was not able to find the quote she was referring to but discovered a similar statement made by 2008 GOP nominee Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) about a separate equal pay bill that Congress considered.
“That law waived the statute of limitations, which you could have gone back 20 or 30 years,” McCain said. “It was a trial lawyer’s dream.”
Ledbetter said it is not easy for a woman who is discriminated against or sexually harassed in the workplace to find another job.
“I know what it is like to be discriminated against at work. When I filed that equal-pay lawsuit regarding discrimination back in 1998, I knew exactly what I was doing and it took a long time. It took nine years to get the final verdict,” Ledbetter said. “Women do not want to have to file charges. We are not in that business. We are just in the business to earn a living and support ourselves and our families.”
Ledbetter said she opposes “everything” that Donald Trump stands for as a candidate.
After allegations of sexual harassment arose against now-former Fox News chief Roger Ailes, Trump said if his daughter was harassed in the workplace, “I would like to think she would find another career or find another company if that was the case.”
“His daughter — he was talking about her getting another job. She probably hasn’t had another job except working for herself or a Trump company and other people do not have that benefit,” Ledbetter said. “The last eight years we made a lot of progress. We need to keep that progress going.”
Ledbetter argued that equal pay is not “a reality” in parts of the country, especially in Florida.
“We are still far behind. Women still do not get the benefits and the rights they are entitled to. It is one of the most unbelievable situations in this country, and the man hoping to become president, he may persuade a few women – but if you are a woman or you are a man with daughters and wives who are holding jobs and working, you need to really, really listen and look at these two people and know what your vote is going for because this is a critical time,” she said of Trump and Clinton.
Ivanka Trump has defended her father’s record, saying he has hired many women for senior positions within the Trump organization over the years.
Florida Building and Construction Trades Council president Theresa King and Luisana Perez-Fernandez, a Latina millennial, were also on the call.