Here’s What Trump and the GOP Really Think About the Working Class

The Biden record on labor is entirely different, and it’s a sad comment that the people from whom one is likeliest to learn this are anti-labor Republicans who presume you’ll be appalled. As I’ve noted previously, Democrats outside the Biden administration are criminally reluctant to publicize Biden’s excellent record on working-class issues for fear of scaring off the party’s new college-educated constituency (even though the latter is more leftist on these issues than the proletariat). So it fell to Good on Wednesday to state that Biden “declared his intention to govern as the most pro-union president in history. Well, President Biden has kept his promise, and proven to be the most partisan, Big Labor president since FDR.” You can’t buy publicity like that!

I’m also grateful to Representative Virginia Foxx, who chairs the full Labor and the Workforce Committee, and is possibly the most anti-union legislator ever to do so, for flagging recent efforts by the Biden administration on behalf of the United Auto Workers of which I was previously unaware. “The U.S. government may have reached out to pressure the German government regarding Mercedes’ stance toward the election,” Foxx said. That would be the union election at a Mercedes plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, that the UAW lost last week. Foxx got her information from a Bloomberg report by Josh Eidelson that I’d somehow missed. The piece said that unspecified Biden administration officials raised concerns with unspecified German officials about Mercedes’ union-busting activities in Tuscaloosa that may have violated both U.S. and German law. The European Union raised similar concerns with the German government, as did the UAW itself. “We expect them to respect both local law and European values,” Olof Gill, a spokesman for the European Commission (the EU’s international arm), told Eidelson. An investigation is now underway.

The German law in question is the July 2021 Act on Corporate Due Diligence Obligations, which applies not only to any company that’s headquartered in Germany but also to any foreign company that employs one thousand or more people in Germany. It prohibits these companies from engaging in activities (chiefly but not exclusively through their suppliers) that violate human rights, defined (in part) as “disregarding the freedom of association, according to which employees are free to form or join trade unions.” The law states that the “formation, joining, and membership of a trade union must not be used as a reason for unjustified discrimination or retaliation.” This is relevant because the UAW alleges, among other things, that Mercedes fired a union supporter with stage 4 cancer who previously had been exempted from a company rule against cell phones so that he could check on the availability of a certain chemotherapy drug. The union supporter’s supervisor, the UAW said, “has intimidated union supporters” in the past. The supervisor told this gravely ill person, the UAW said, that there was a zero-tolerance policy on cell phones, and got him fired.

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Kim browne

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