News & Politics

Will Trump Rubber-Stamp Right-to-Work?

Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally in Miami. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci, file)

President-elect Donald Trump will serve as a “useful idiot” for Republicans in Congress, rubber-stamping “anti-worker” legislation like national right-to-work. So argues John Logan in commentary written for The Hill. The labor studies professor from San Fransisco State University writes with characteristic alarm, warning that “workers’ rights” will be trampled in the coming term.

Republicans in Congress have introduced several bills that are a compendium of far-right ideas on workers’ rights…

Republicans claim their cockamamie anti-worker ideas — all of which originate with far-right think tanks and nefarious lobbyists — would benefit individual employees.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Their agenda would benefit only powerful corporations and the GOP’s billionaire paymasters. Individual workers, in contrast, will pay a heavy price in terms of weakened bargaining power, lower wages and even worse working conditions.

Logan cites Grover Norquist as the herald of things to come. The storied tax activist has stated in the past that Republicans in Congress need a president “with enough working digits to handle a pen… to sign the legislation that has already been prepared.” Logan fears Trump will be that president, going along with whatever Paul Ryan sends his way.

Logan clearly hasn’t been paying attention. No one tells Donald Trump what to do. As they acquiesced to the inevitability of Trump as their nominee, many Republicans argued that he could be shepherded toward conservatism if surrounded by the right people. We’ve seen many prominent Republicans jockeying for such influence. We’ve also seen how Trump brushes them off, expecting those around him to fall in line.

Trump has already defied conservative orthodoxy on key economic issues like trade, dragging much of the Republican constituency with him. He even got working-class warrior Michael Moore to say quasi-nice things about him, due entirely to his willingness to do what other politicians won’t on behalf of middle-class workers.

Don’t get me wrong. It would be wonderful if Logan were right. The corrupt union-political complex stands as a true rigging of the system. Unions should succeed or fail on their merits in a market which remains free to embrace or reject them. The National Labor Relations Board is an atrocity which, left unchecked, would happily function as an economic Berlin Wall. But President-elect Trump largely agrees with them and shares their goals. He has spoken often of punishing companies for moving jobs, something which the NLRB has actually done. Trump has created a brand cobbled together from various aspects of the political spectrum, including far-left labor policy. It seems unlikely that he would turn against that now.