AFA bag tag. Photo: Wikimedia Commons AFA bag tag. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Trump’s boasts of economic boom does not ring true to the worker says Pete Morgan

“Trump will not like to hear this but we’re just getting started,” said Sara Nelson this week,  a US trade union leader and President of the Association of Flight Attendants. This follows the release of a new report by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) which showed strike activity has hit a 35-year high under Trump. Nelson says, “Trump’s economy is not a workers’ economy, and workers know solidarity is the best way to fight back.”

Trump had better beware because behind the headlines of the Democratic leadership contest there is something stirring in the US today. In yet another rebuke to Trump’s claims that the US economy is ‘roaring’ the report revealed that the “number of striking workers surged in 2018 and 2019 after decades of decline”.

The EPI report noted that the spike marked “a 35-year high for the number of workers involved in a major work stoppage over a two-year period. Strike activity surged in 2018, with 485,200 workers involved in major work stoppages—a nearly twentyfold increase from 25,300 workers in 2017,” The jump in numbers, the EPI explained, “is largely fuelled by an increase in stoppages involving at least 20,000 workers.” Key examples include public school teachers in North Carolina, West Virginia, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Kentucky and unionized workers at General Motors, Stop & Shop, the University of California, and AT&T.

The Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign, explained that

“of all the lies Trump told on the economy, poor and low-income Americans know that the economy is his greatest vulnerability. Yes, the Dow is at a record high and official unemployment rates are low but measuring the health of the economy by these stats is like measuring the 19th-century’s plantation economy by the price of cotton. However much the slaveholders profited, the enslaved people and the poor white farmers whose wages were stifled by free labour did not see the benefits of the boom.

The question in 2020 is not whether Trump’s most ardent supporters will stand by him, but whether Democrats will embrace an agenda that can inspire poor and marginalised people to engage in a political system that has simply overlooked them for decades.”

Barber’s comments and EPI’s new report came just a day after Trump unveiled his $4.8 trillion budget, which Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders described as “of, by, and for the one percent.” Trump proposes cutting funds to safety net programmes while pouring more money into the Pentagon and his long-promised border wall.

“We’re just getting started.” said trade union leader, Sara Nelson. “Cheers to all the strikers who are showing us the way. Workers have power. Not alone, but in action together. Solidarity is the way forward.”


Reposted from Sweet Talkin’ newsletter