*The following is an opinion column by R Muse*
A couple of days ago this column reported and commented on the conservative Wall Street Journal telling Donald Trump to liquidate his holdings, place the proceeds in a “blind trust,” turn over remaining assets to his children and cease communicating with them about Trump business. The Journal’s reason was because “If Mr. Trump doesn’t liquidate, he will be accused of a pecuniary motive any time he takes a policy position.”
The editors at the Journal did not go on to say that one very unique reason “he will be accused of a pecuniary motive any time he takes a policy position” is because that is precisely what a corrupt person like Trump is prone to do. Sure enough, there are reports that Trump is already planning on acting out of a “pecuniary motive” when he “remakes the agency that ruled against him” because as White House occupant he will have that authority.
No-one in their right mind is surprised at this latest outrage, particularly when a couple of days after the election Trump argued that the lawsuit against his phony rip-off university had to be postponed until after he was in the White House and wielded control over the Justice Department and federal judges’ jobs. Although Trump didn’t actually say that is why he wanted a postponement, there is no doubt in a sane human being’s mind that was his intent. The Judge Trump said was incapable of presiding over a fair trial because ‘he’s a Mexican’ rejected Trump’s argument.
Now there is news that Dirty Don intends on revamping a federal agency NLRB) that ruled against him about three weeks ago for violating federal labor laws. In the interim, instead of complying with the agency’s ruling and order, Trump’s lawyers are tying up the issue in court just long enough for a new White House administration to step in and overturn the previous ruling.
One of the Las Vegas hotels owned by corrupt Trump is escalating what has already been a nasty war with the one federal agency charged with enforcing the nation’s labor laws and protecting the labor force. The war is over the right of workers to organize and collectively bargain; something the Koch brothers, all Republicans, and especially Donald Trump the “businessman” or potential president-elect is not going to stand idly by and allow to happen; not when the ultimate authority to crush workers’ rights and union labor is within his grasp.
Since Trump despises labor unions nearly as much as he hates the U.S. Constitution, as a president, he will soon seek vengeance against the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and remake it in his anti-union image when he appoints new members who will make Trump’s “union problem” just go away. It is precisely what no small number of political commenters and experts predicted would happen if ‘he’ was ever allowed to seize control over federal government agencies.
This column commented on the smack down the NRLB issued to Trump about three weeks ago over his, and his Trump International Hotel’s, refusal to either acknowledge or accept the result of an election that Trump didn’t win. The NLRB ordered Trump to negotiate with the now-organized workers according to federal law and that is when the real problem started. Remember, as a megalomaniac authoritarian, no-one, especially not a government agency, tells Donald Trump what to do; particularly if he thinks it might cut into his profits and prevent him from taking advantage of workers.
The NLRB ordered Trump to negotiate with Unite Here, a coalition of the Culinary Workers union and Bartenders union, that Trump’s employees said they want to be represented by and voted accordingly. Trump refuses to recognize the union, and charged that employees were intimidated into voting Yes. The reality is that Trump hired a union-busting firm to threaten and intimidate the workers, mostly immigrants and women, into fearing for their livelihoods if they dared cross “boss Trump” and vote according to their best self-interests.
After hearing the Trump hotel’s lies and complaints, all three members of the NLRB, two Democrats and one Republican, rejected Trump’s argument and ruled unanimously that Trump had no choice but to recognize and negotiate with the union according to the law; a law that will most certainly face a similar fate as the NLRB. Trump sent in his attorneys who promptly filed a federal lawsuit to change the ruling as quickly as Trump hopes to change the NLRB into a Trump-friendly federal agency; an independent government agency that will become organized labor’s worst enemy.
The NLRB was created to protect labor and is charged with interpreting and enforcing the nation’s labor laws, overseeing union elections, and ruling on complaints from both workers and management.
Since the NLRB is considered an independent agency, a president in regular times cannot fire its members, but these are far from “regular” times. A president can appoint new members, subject to Senate confirmation, when current member’s term is finished and Trump will fill two vacancies immediately and a third in December 2017. And as president, next October he appoints a new NLRB general counsel; probably the most crucial agency position. The general counsel decides which labor dispute cases are ever brought to the agency for consideration and adjudication. Trump can easily fill the NLRB with Koch-approved anti-union people and, as Money/CNN noted, remake the NLRB in a big way and deal organized labor the true death conservatives have dreamt about for generations.
Republicans have ramped up their attacks on the NLRB during President Obama’s tenure because they claim the agency is better protecting workers and making it harder for employers to take advantage of the work force, and just three weeks ago imposed an unfair ruling that failed to favor employers at the expense of worker rights and federal laws.
The NLRB has been at the center of Republican angst for some time because it is not predatory towards the labor force and unions; something Republicans expect Donald Trump to remedy sooner rather than later. The Kochs demand it, the U.S. Chamber demands it, corporations expect it, and with unchallenged authority, anti-labor Donald Trump will see their demands reach fruition; if for no other reason than to impose some old-school vengeance on workers for voting the wrong way.
Now that they control all facets of government, Republicans are eager to have a NLRB that is more favorable to big business and adversarial toward organized labor and workers’ rights. As they should be, unions representing Trump hotel workers are rightly worried about “what Trump might do to interfere” with the current case when he takes over and runs the government. That was the statement from Bethany Khan, a spokesperson for the Culinary Workers Union. She said,
“The question for us is: Will Donald Trump as president of the United States of America use the power he has to interfere — given that he has a financial interest in the outcome of these matters.”
Ms. Khan also said that besides Trump’s greed, what drives the workers’ concerns are whether there are any federal ethics rules allowing Trump’s puppets on the NLRB to rule on cases involving his business; exactly the kind of conflict of interest no small number of experts have warned will happen. Khan said,
“The Culinary Union may challenge those rulings if this situation arises. The new majority can be expected to be less generous in protection of workers’ rights than the current NLRB.”
One wonders what all of the nation’s law enforcement unions, most of whom endorsed Trump, are thinking about their prospects under a government, and labor protection agency, devoted to serving the interests of anyone but workers; and hungers to put an end to organized labor once and for all time. These are not unjustified concerns, either. Because with the Republican Party, Koch brothers, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and Donald Trump running the entire government, unions are an endangered species and Trump’s hotel workers in Las Vegas are about to experience a greedy authoritarian’s vengeance because he didn’t win an election and hates labor as much as he hates unions.