Donald Trump sure knows how to pick 'em. An anti-labor Secretary of Labor, a head of the Environmental Protection Agency who doesn’t believe in Global Warming, a Housing and Urban Development Secretary who thinks poverty is a choice, a Goldman-Sachs banker for Treasury Secretary, a Health and Human Services Secretary who is anti women’s reproductive rights, an Attorney General with a 20% favorable rating by the American Civil Liberties Union, a senior White House counselor who is generally considered to be anti-semitic and a white nationalist, the CEO of Exxon Mobile (“Big Oil” personified) as Secretary of State, dimwitted and devious Rick Perry of Texas as Energy Secretary . . .
For the moment, let’s just look at Donald himself, his choice for Secretary of Labor—and the bleak outlook for American workers.
“(CNSNews.com) – During his victory rally in Des Moines, Iowa, on Thursday [Dec. 8], President-elect Donald Trump detailed his economic plan, which includes incentivizing businesses to stay in the U.S. and hire Americans. ’My administration will follow two simple rules: Buy American and hire American,’ Trump said . . .”
On Dec. 6, The Daily Beast reported “Trump Hires Foreign Mar-a-Lago Workers—Donald Trump will hire foreign employees at low hourly rates for his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, despite repeated campaign rhetoric about providing jobs for American workers before overseas workers who often receive lower wages. In October, Trump received Department of Labor approval to hire 64 international employees through the H-2B visa program, the Palm Beach Post reports. Many of these workers will be paid the same or less than previous years, despite rising wage growth elsewhere. Trump received Department of Labor permission to pay 19 cooks $12.74 an hour, down from the current $13.01 an hour. Thirty waiters and waitresses will receive a slight raise, with hourly wages at $11.13 instead of the current $10.99 . . .”
What a guy.
It so happens that I love numbers, so I paused to fiddle a bit with these. Using a 40-hour week with the wages shown here, I figure cooks at the fancy resort, will be knocking down $26,499.20 a year (not exactly cordon bleu wages), a decrease of $561.60 from what each of 19 would have been paid last year. That savings will more than cover the 14-cent an hour “raise” for 30 waiter and waitress positions to $23,150.40 a year. This minor wage finagling will save Donald $1,934.40 for this year compared to last.
Hey, it all adds up when one’s busy gathering billions! (and one must maintain a clear separation between the wealthy and the “losers”).
No mention was made of vacation, overtime pay, medical coverage or any retirement benefits. And the story also did not specify the nature of the 15 jobs for VISA-qualified workers in addition to the 19 cooks and 30 wait personnel. I do my math the old-fashioned way, with pen and paper; no calculator. So please feel free to point out any error in my figures above.
And, of course, Dec. 8 Donald tapped as his Secretary of Labor, Andrew Puzder, CEO of the company (CKE Restaurants) that franchises Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. Puzder is an outspoken critic of the worker protections enacted by the Obama administration. He opposes any increase in the minimum wage. In recent years, Puzder’s CKE has been accused of discriminating against a female applicant with a disability, having general managers “on call 24 hours a day” without overtime pay, failing to reimburse general managers for work-related expenses, allowing a work environment in which sexual harassment was permitted and being a workplace that did not provide sufficient safety gear to prevent serious burns during cooking. The company has officially admitted to being the subject of “several potential lawsuits” over meal and rest breaks, wages, hours disputes, etc.
Let’s quote here syndicated columnist Carl Sunstein, who commented on Puzde: “How exactly does he propose to safeguard the interest of people who are supposed to be protected by the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act and the Occupational Safety and Health Act?”
So, what would you say this all indicates for American workers down at the real grass-roots level?
Such as those waiting table at Donald’s posh establishment. How will our remaining labor unions be faring in years ahead? All we’re really getting from Donald so far is self-contradictory platitudes as he does a victory lap around the country attempting to seduce love and affection from the likes of auto and steel workers. And continues to appoint old white billionaires and generals to major government positions—and a few attractive younger white women to other offices he probably feels are of lesser consequence.