Today’s News & Commentary — February 24, 2017
President Trump’s second pick for labor secretary, Alexander Acosta, has already won some union support from the International Association of Fire Fighters and the Laborers’ International Union of North America. IAFF President Harold Schaitberger, describing past experiences working with Acosta, described the nominee as “fair, reasonable, and accessible.” Despite not having endorsed Acosta yet, AFL-CIO head Richard Trumka has called Acosta worthy of “serious consideration,” unlike Trump’s first labor nominee Andy Puzder.
As reported yesterday, President Trump met with two dozen chief executives of major U.S. manufacturing companies to discuss reshoring factory jobs. Missing from the meeting was labor union representation. Responding to a question on why unions were not invited to the roundtable, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer stated that the meeting “was specifically for people who were hiring people and the impediments they’re having to creating additional jobs,” and reaffirmed that the president “still values [labor union leaders’] opinion.”
New York Times Magazine published today a long-form article by Barbara Ehrenreich on the necessity of new ways of organizing in the face of new forms of employment. Among other common policy proposals in reaction to the stagnation of working class wages, Ehrenreich criticizes retraining programs for thinking of workers as “endless malleable and ready to recreate themselves to accommodate every change in the job market .”