News & Commentary

November 13, 2016

Maia Usui

Maia Usui is a student at Harvard Law School.

The postmortem continues, as commentators seek to understand the reasons behind Donald Trump’s win this week.  Writing for The Wall Street Journal, Professor Michael Kazin argues that the decline of unions had an important role, creating an institutional vacuum that left white working-class workers vulnerable to Trump’s brand of populism.  NPR breaks down the numbers, suggesting that the GOP’s huge gains in certain states — especially among uneducated white voters — are a sign of the Democrats’ “cratering with blue-collar white voters.”

Meanwhile, questions abound over what a Trump presidency will mean for workers.  On the campaign trail, President-elect Trump talked tough on trade and promised to keep jobs in the United States.  Now, his supporters are counting on him to keep those promises.  The Christian Science Monitor takes a look at whether Trump can deliver on his promise to coal country to “bring the . . . industry back 100 percent.”  And The New York Times shares the perspective of factory workers in Indiana who — having cast their ballots for Trump — now expect him to stop their plants from moving overseas.

Commentators have also started to speculate over the details of the next President’s labor policies.  Fast Company offers a few predictions, including new restrictions on hiring foreign workers and a potential reshaping of the NLRB.  POLITICO weighs the chances that the Labor Department’s overtime rule, set to take effect this December, will survive the Trump administration unscathed.  JD Supra looks at how the Trump administration could shake up the EEOC, starting with personnel changes and a tighter budget.

And finally, lest we forget another big winner in this week’s election, The National Review discusses the renewed momentum of the right-to-work movement.  Republicans who campaigned on right-to-work platforms in three states — Kentucky, Missouri, and New Hampshire — could now be in a position to pass legislation making union dues optional.  Moreover, now that the GOP will be filling the vacant seat on the Supreme Court, the 4-4 split in Friedrichs could also tilt in their favor, extending right-to-work to government employees nationwide.

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