Here we go! We are entering into the Trump era. Not only is he the President, Republicans control the House and the Senate. In the past, this has always been disastrous for worker’s rights and the ability of organized labor to defend the rights of all workers, and we expect the same, if not worse to come.
Unfortunately, the Democrats let us down by running a flawed campaign that underestimated the frustration and mistrust of the system by the middle class. Trump’s lies and misguided promises sounded good to many. Now, many of the rights that we have fought for and taken for granted are subject to elimination.
The news has concentrated on the Republicans’ obsession with eliminating the Affordable Care Act (ACA). While this groundbreaking legislation brought us closer to every major industrial nation in the world in providing health care for all citizens, it fell far short of working for everyone. However, it accomplished a lot of things that were necessary for millions who couldn’t afford or get health care. Now, I fear, some of the advantages offered by the ACA will go away. If you are insuring your child who is not yet 26 years of age under your healthcare plan, that will be gone. If you are using your mental health services for therapy or for substance abuse, the unlimited ability to do so will be gone. Pre-existing conditions may prevent you or someone in your family from gaining insurance. There are many more areas where the Republicans’ elimination of the ACA before they offer any alternative could affect all of us.
There is more to come. A bill has already been submitted to the Senate to eliminate the Davis-Bacon prevailing wage law on federal construction jobs. This will undermine the contracts covering all building trades unions and many of our members who depend on these laws to make sure competition with non-union contractors is fair. It will automatically force reductions in wages and benefits.
Right-to-Work has been on the Republicans’ agenda forever. Now they have the opportunity to create legislation to have a national Right-to-Work bill that could undermine unions in every state. I expect this to come down the pipe sooner than later. All in all, we’ll have to prepare for one attack after another.
We are lucky that we live and work in California. Democrats control both houses of the state legislature and that bodes well for us. Those politicians will have to enact as many protections as they can to protect us from the onslaught of attacks from the Federal government.
Teamsters Joint Council 7 has developed a strong presence in Sacramento which helps us protect you and your families. We will need you to step up and show up when asked. We will need showings of power and strength to convince the politicians that we will not sit by and watch everything that union members have fought for over decades be taken away by the billionaires running our federal government.
Rest assured that as the President of the best joint council in the Teamsters union, I will not rest and I will not give in to these attacks. As long as we stand together and unify, we cannot be beat!