Trump economic advisor calls for abolishment of federal minimum wage
In case you were still in the dark about how the Trump administration feels about workers, Larry Kudlow, Donald Trump’s top economic advisor, decided he would make it as clear as possible:
The White House’s top economic adviser said Thursday that he opposes the federal minimum wage, arguing that the decades-old law is a “terrible idea” that drives up costs for small businesses across the country.
Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, said that he would oppose any attempt to work with Democrats in Congress to lift the federal minimum wage should the party take back the House or Senate in the 2018 midterm elections.
“My view is a federal minimum wage is a terrible idea. A terrible idea,” Kudlow said at a Washington Post Live event, adding that raising it would “damage” small businesses by forcing them to face higher payroll costs. Kudlow later called the idea of hiking the federal minimum wage “silly.”
Notice that Larry Kudlow is utilizing a common Republican tactic of using small businesses as his excuse for wanting low wages for workers, strategically failing to mention the many large corporations who also want to pay low wages because it would help their bottom line. The truth is that Larry Kudlow has spent the last couple decades working on Wall Street. He wants stocks to go up, and low wages help stocks go up. He couldn’t care less about small businesses, and he certainly doesn’t care about workers. In that respect, he fits in perfectly with the Trump administration and the Republican party. Here are some other instances of the Trump administration pushing policies that hurt workers:
In March of 2017, Trump signed a resolution to block the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces rule.
The resolution blocks the Obama-era rule that requires federal contractors to disclose workplace violations—specifically violations of federal labor laws and executive orders that address wage and hour, safety and health, collective bargaining, family medical leave, and civil rights protections. The rule directs that such violations be considered when awarding federal contracts. In addition, the rule mandates that contractors provide each worker with written notice of basic information including wages, hours worked, overtime hours, and whether the worker is an independent contractor. Finally, the rule prohibits contractors from requiring workers to sign pre-dispute arbitration agreements for discrimination, harassment, or sexual assault claims.
In April of 2017, Trump signed a resolution to block a rule that companies document workplace injuries.
EPI: Congressional Review Act resolution to block the Department of Labor’s rule titled, “Clarification of Employer’s Continuing Obligation to Make and Maintain an Accurate Record of Each Recordable Injury and Illness”
The resolution blocked an Obama-era rule that involves an employer’s duty to keep accurate logs of workplace injuries and illnesses. Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, many employers are legally required to keep records of workplace injuries and illnesses, and to maintain those records for 5 years. The Obama-era rule clarified that an employer could be issued a citation and fined for failure to properly record a workplace injury/illness any time during that 5-year period. The resolution nullified this rule.
In June of 2017, the Trump administration took the side of big corporations in a case about whether they could force employees to settle all cases in arbitration instead of court.
Today, the Acting Solicitor General switched the government’s position in National Labor Relations Board v. Murphy Oil USA, Inc, from arguing in favor of working people to arguing in favor of big business. The move is deeply disappointing, and represents a stark departure from standard practice. It is the clearest indication yet of where the Trump administration stands: with corporate interests and against working people.
The Murphy Oil case is significant for workers. It will determine whether mandatory arbitration agreements with individual workers that prevent them from pursuing work-related claims collectively are prohibited by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). These agreements have become increasingly common.
In September of 2017, Trump abandoned the Obama administration’s increase in who would have to be paid overtime by employers.
The Trump administration has abandoned the Department of Labor’s overtime pay regulations. It’s going to cost workers $1.2 billion per year
In May of 2018, Trump signed executive orders to take away benefits from federal workers.
President Trump moved Friday to roll back civil-service protections that federal employees have enjoyed for a generation, making it easier to fire poor performers, curtailing time employees can be paid for union work and directing agencies to negotiate tougher union contracts.
In June of 2018, Trump voiced his support for a Supreme Court ruling that harms public sector unions.
President Donald Trump is hailing a Supreme Court ruling on union fees, asserting that it amounts to a “Big loss for the coffers of the Democrats!”
Trump tweeted shortly after the Supreme Court ruled that government workers can’t be compelled to contribute to labor unions that represent them in collective bargaining. The ruling is considered a significant financial blow to organized labor.
And, in August of 2018, Trump announced he was rescinding cost of living pay bumps for federal employees.
President Donald Trump says he plans to freeze automatic pay raises for civilian federal employees in 2019, citing the need for government belt-tightening.
In a letter to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, Trump said he is zeroing out both across-the-board pay increases as well as locality pay raises that are based on where federal employees live. The scheduled pay raises were set to go into effect in January 2019.
“We must maintain efforts to put our nation on a fiscally sustainable course, and federal agency budgets cannot sustain such increases,” Trump said in the letter.
Donald Trump and the Republican party couldn’t make it any clearer: they will be on the side of corporations against workers every single time.