Washington, D.C. — The Center for American Progress Action Fund’s American Worker Project is tracking every action the president takes to weaken job protections for Americans, and with Labor Day around the corner, the Action Fund has updated its tracker with new content and examples of ways the Trump administration has betrayed the American worker. The list includes legislation and orders signed by the president; procedural changes and regulations enacted or proposed by his administration; and official statements of policy, such as the president’s proposed budget. The newly updated tracker lists 43 anti-worker policies enacted by the administration.
“Given the many ways the president and his administration have undermined the American worker, it’s laughable to even consider the president’s pledge to help ‘the forgotten men and women of our country’,” said David Madland, senior fellow and senior advisor to the American Worker Project at the Action Fund and co-author of the tracker. “He has done the exact opposite, by letting corruption and graft infect every corner of the federal government and by giving corporations and wealthy special interests the reins. Rolling back worker protections and weakening agencies meant to protect everyday Americans is no way to govern.”
- Relaxing OSHA’s injury and illness reporting standards. On July 27, 2018, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced plans to rescind an Obama-era regulation that required large employers or employers of workers in dangerous occupations to submit detailed logs of workplace injuries and illnesses to OSHA.
- Rolling back child labor laws. On July 14, 2018, the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor (DOL) submitted proposed regulations to the White House that relax rules that limit the amount of time spent by 16- and 17-year-old apprentices working in hazardous contexts such as roofing and logging. If finalized, this rule would increase teenage workers’ exposure to heavy machinery and other workplace risk factors.
- Erecting barriers for home care workers who want to support their union. On July 12, 2018, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a notice of proposed rule-making that threatens to further weaken public sector unions. The proposed rule would prevent independent providers of home care services from authorizing automatic dues deductions from the payments they receive from the state Medicaid authorities. This move will prevent hundreds of thousands of union members from easily paying their dues, making it more difficult for workers to join together in strong unions to improve their working conditions and the quality of care.
- Proposing an inadequate family leave plan. The president’s adviser and daughter, Ivanka Trump, published an op-ed on July 11, 2018, calling for bipartisan paid family leave legislation. Teaming up with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), she unveiled the proposal a month later. The plan would permit workers to borrow from their Social Security benefits to support their growing families when they take parental leave. Under this plan, workers may delay retirement in order to give their child a strong start to life. The Urban Institute estimates that under this plan, a worker that takes 12 weeks of parental leave at half their usual pay would have to postpone their retirement by 25 weeks. Because women are still more likely to take parental leave than men, this plan may have a significant adverse impact on women’s ability to retire.
- Attacking federal workers and their unions. In May 2018, Trump issued a series of executive orders that roll back protections for federal employees and their unions. One executive order, issued on May 25, cuts the amount of “official time” workers can use to conduct their union responsibilities. These include vital functions such as assisting co-workers in the grievance process. Moreover, Trump’s executive orders restrict access to union resources by ordering unions to pay rent for the office spaces they set up in federal buildings to assist their members. The Trump administration furthered its restrictions on public sector unions by issuing a notice that it would reinstate a George W. Bush-era regulation that imposed burdensome disclosures on state and regional public sector union offices. By reducing the access that workers have to their union and further taxing their resources, these executive actions weaken the collective voice of federal employees. Trump’s executive orders also make it easier to fire federal workers.
- Undermining the NLRB’s ability to protect workplace democracy. National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) General Counsel Peter Robb, appointed by Trump last year, has begun to implement a plan to “streamline” the independent federal agency as outlined in a March 14, 2018, memo. Among other things, Robb plans to change the procedure by which the board processes cases—changes that according to the NLRB Professional Association would reduce the number of cases the NLRB can process and make it more difficult for workers to file charges against employers that violate their right to organize.
- Forgiving employers who violate wage and hour laws. On March 6, 2018, the Department of Labor announced the Payroll Audit Independent Determination program, which allows employers who violate wage and hour laws to avoid paying penalties by volunteering to investigate themselves. Under this program, businesses calculate the back wages they owe their workers and with DOL supervision pay the money owed without any interest, liquidated damages, or penalties.
Click here to read “President Trump’s Policies Are Hurting American Workers” by David Madland, Karla Walter, Alex Rowell, and Zoe Willingham.
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