A Vote for Trump is Now a Vote to Jeopardize Our Power as a Union and Our Safety as a Country
While less of our fellow union members plan on voting for Trump than they did in 2016, we still need to do better. PA is a swing state and every vote counts.
If you really want the boss to call all of the shots when it comes to your wages, healthcare, scheduling, policy changes, and job security, Trump is your man. If that does not sound appetizing, I urge you to read below.
The above comments are not an exaggeration. I know, I know; I used to hear somewhat similar arguments from liberals when it came to George Bush, John McCain, and Mitt Romney. But in my twenty years of supporting hard working people fight for their fair share, I have never made such a serious argument against voting for a politician as the one that I am making now.
I have never seen institutions that we fought hard to establish, The Labor Board, OSHA, the Labor Department, the CDC, etc. become, at best, useless and, at worse, agencies actually working against our own interests. Reminder; we are paying for this with our own tax dollars. That’s right, under Trump we get to pay for our own harm. We also pay more in taxes than the rich (a trend not specific to Trump, but clearly accelerating under him).
Bosses are getting more and more emboldened at negotiations. I am seeing it in this very moment. The legal underpinning of our union is slipping away before our eyes. This translates directly to loss of power and to worse conditions for patient care and safety. Even a fighting union would do far better without the government tying one hand behind it’s back . Here is some quick important data to illustrate the broader point.
- 5,250 workers died on the job in 2018 alone (a slight increase from 2017). The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is being severely attacked and undermined by Trump. The number of workplace safety inspectors has fallen to the lowest ever in the agency’s existence. When I first got in touch with OSHA over repeated needle sticks at Einstein Hospital, they literally admitted that they were too short staffed to do anything about it. I had to argue with the guy for 20 minutes to get a site visit. I had never experienced anything like this in my entire career. More hard working Americans, including nurses and healthcare professionals, will needlessly die or suffer injuries because of this.
- Trump’s Labor Board has consistently been putting out decisions and edicts that hurt us every day, it is unlike anything I have ever seen. They are undermining our right to negotiate, our right to protected unfair labor practice strikes, and even our right to have union reps be inside the hospital. Next, the boss will soon have the legal right to kick nurses and healthcare professionals out of their own hospital if they are engaged in union activity (not sarcasm). While all Republican board members have historically tilted towards the boss, this horror is unprecedented. It is basic corruption.
- While other countries also did not do well during the COVID-19 crisis(like Brazil), Trump’s CDC and his Executive Branch also failed miserably. Safety guidelines were so bad, it was almost as if it might have been better off if the CDC didn't even exist at all. Over 200,000 Americans are dead due to the virus and too many of them were healthcare workers. If there is any time for the federal government to be useful, it would be during a pandemic. They could have easily produced enough n95s but simply chose not to. Instead of authorizing the Defense Production Act, tax dollars were poured into corrupt ventures that landed poor results, if any results at all. Trump even had the gall to disagree with an actual nurse (on nurses’ day) who claimed that PPE availability was sporadic. “I have heard we have tremendous supply to almost all places, tremendous supply,” Trump said. I am sure the 2020 statistics on worker deaths will be, again, needlessly high.
I am not here to shill for Biden, he has issues in my opinion as well, but everything I just spoke about above; our day to day working conditions, our rights as a union, having organizations like the Labor Board and OHSA working for us instead of against us, are not insignificant. They are literally matters of life and death for people who work hard for a living. Four more years of Trump will only make all of this worse, and that my union brothers and sisters, keeps me up at night.
I want to close this article on a personal note. We all have lives outside of our careers. Maybe there are some issues that you care about that, well, “trump” concerns about any of the above. I too have a life outside of the union.
In 2017 I took a six month sabbatical to work with the Syrian Kurdish movement against ISIS. ISIS had launched a full on assault on Kurdish and other minority ethnic groups in the region, including a genocide against the Yezidi people. ISIS attacks on US soil were also increasing. The people of the region put out a call for international help. Myself, along with volunteers from all over the globe, organized with the then US backed Syrian Democratic Forces; a network of Kurds, Arabs, Syriac Christians, Yezidis and others who were fighting back against the ISIS onslaught on the ground.
By the time I got there, the ISIS capital in Raqqa had been surrounded and we were driving them from the city block by block. Some of my friends never made it home.
In the end the ISIS caliphate collapsed and a new, much better society was beginning be created in the ashes of the old terror state. There was hope in the region. Democracy was taking root. Ethnic unity was at the forefront. Women were now treated as equals and held real positions of power.
Non partisan diplomats like Brett McGurk (Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIS) and seasoned Military leaders like General James Mattis, both deeply engaged in the fight against ISIS, began breathing a sigh of relief. That is until Donal Trump began meddling.
There is a saying that the Kurds have no friends but the mountains. While Donald Trump was not the first president to sell out the Kurds, doing so, so soon after they sacrificed thousands of lives, men and women, freeing the world of ISIS, was a new low.
In coordination with the Turkish regime Trump re positioned (did not withdraw) US forces and coordinated a war and invasion against the Kurds. Why? simply because he got a phone call telling him to do so by a foreign leader. It just so happened that he and other people in his leadership (like Michael Flynn) had corrupt deals with said leader.
Bombs began raining down on newly peaceful cities and radical jihadist forces flooded into the region. They killed my friend. Civilians were killed in brazen war crimes. In just one example, 34 year old Kurdish political leader, Hevrîn Xelef, was pulled from her car by invading jihadists. She was beaten and dragged by her hair until her scalp tore off. She was then shot and left to die by the side of the road. Large swaths of a once peaceful Northern Syria are now under the control of many individuals who have pledged allegiance to Al Qaeda, they include many former ISIS fighters. ISIS attacks have drastically increased in the region due to this invasion and dozens of ISIS fighters were able to escape Kurdish jails, their whereabouts remain unknown.
Not only did Trump stab the Kurds in the back, he also did so by directly bolstering objectively terrorist forces. Looting, infighting, killing, radical jihadism, rape, ethnic cleansing and torture are all now widespread in the areas under their occupation. Both General Mattis (a Trump appointee) and Brett McGurk(who served Bush, Obama and Trump) resigned in disgust.
Later, in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, General Mattis astutely remarked that Trump is “the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people” and that America is “witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership”. He called for accountability for “those in office who would make a mockery of our Constitution.” He is right. Chaos at home, chaos abroad. The rich are getting richer, the corrupt are getting more corrupt. Those of us who actually work for a living and struggle on the side of justice and freedom will continue to suffer if his reign is allowed to continue.