Trump marked Labor Day by attacking the leader of America’s biggest labor union

No Happy Labor Days here.
No Happy Labor Days here.
Image: AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta
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Americans are celebrating Labor Day in the US, a holiday historically meant to celebrate organized labor. But Donald Trump instead took the opportunity to lash out at the man who leads the largest federation of labor unions in the country.

Trump tweeted today that Richard Trumka, president of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), represented unions poorly. The tweet was in response to comments made by Trumka on national television on Sunday (Sept. 2.)

Trump ran on a platform of returning jobs to laid-off American workers, but Trumka, who appeared on Fox News, criticized the president’s track record on that front so far. “Unfortunately, to date, the things that he’s done to hurt workers outpace what he’s done to help workers,” he said. For instance, he added, Trump “hasn’t come up with an infrastructure program that could put a lot of us back to work.”

Trumka also said Trump had repealed regulations that protected workers’ health and safety, and argued that his tax code changes incentivized outsourcing to other countries. The labor leader also questioned whether the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) could survive without Canada, as Trump has suggested. Trump has reached a tentative trade deal with Mexico, but Canada and the US are sparring over issues involving Canada’s dairy market and drug makers in the US. “There is no political necessity to keep Canada in the new NAFTA deal,” Trump tweeted over the weekend.  

But Trumka said the economies of the three nations are so integrated, that it’s “pretty hard” to see how NAFTA could continue without Canada.