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Trumps Assault on Unions

5 months ago
Chris Ferrari

Trump Ramps Up Assault On Workers’ Rights With Scalia Nomination To Department Of Labor:

Credit: Pedro Nicolaci da Costa Forbes

Donald Trump ran for president on the idea that he would help struggling Americans, the “forgotten man” as he referred to these implicitly white workers, rise up after years of neglect from a shifty labor market and stagnant wages.

Instead, Trump is pursuing the most hostile anti-labor agenda of any modern president, rolling back all kinds of legal protections for working people and ensuring big business can preempt attempts by labor to organize and bargain for fair wages and working conditions.

Trump’s pick to replace Alexander Acosta, who was forced to stepped down because of the shockingly lenient deal he gave convicted pedophile and Trump friend Jeffrey Epstein during his days as a Florida prosecutor, is in a way a crowing jewel of his anti-worker drive, which has already cost workers some $42 billion.

A “legacy” right-wing nominee in the nepotistic tradition of Trumpism, Eugene Scalia is the son of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, widely seen as the most reactionary justice on the court.

He has spent a career in corporate law fighting for the interests of firms over workers, with clients ranging from Walmart to the major Wall Street banks seeking to avoid and evade post-crisis regulations.

While working for Walmart as a major law firm partner, Scalia argued the retail giant should not have to spend more on the healthcare of its employees.

My colleague Heidi Shierholz, senior economist and director of policy at the Economic Policy Institute, knows the labor department all too well. She spent three years as President Barack Obama’s chief economist there.

Here’s what she had to say about Scalia in a statement: “This is another fox-guarding-the-hen house selection that defines the Trump cabinet.”

“Eugene Scalia has spent his career fighting for the interests of financial firms, corporate executives, and shareholders rather than the interests of working people,” she said.

“He actually argued in court against the ‘fiduciary’ rule, the Department of Labor rule that would have simply required retirement advisers to work in the best interest of their clients—outlawing common practices such as financial advisers steering retirement savers toward investments that provide a good commission, but a lower rate of return.”

Forbes contributor Ted Knutson chronicled just how instrumental Scalia was to knocking down the fiduciary rule—and other anti-worker, anti-consumer cases— in a 2016 piece for Financial Advisor.

In it, Knutson found Scalia actually boasted in his biography of having “successfully challenged a court decision that would have certified the largest class in an Americans with Disabilities Act class action suit ever filed.”

Judy Conti, government affairs director at the National Employment Law Project, was vocal in her warnings about Scalia in a statement:

“Scalia has spent his entire career fighting for big businesses and against working people,” Conti said. “He is a frequent opponent of the Department of Labor and its initiatives to try to improve the lives of the country’s workforce.”

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