tv AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka Discusses Labor Movement CSPAN September 5, 2019 4:55pm-6:00pm EDT
not racist. now today white nationalists are saying i'm not racist. no matter whether they are in the white house for planning the next mass shooting. >> 11:00 p.m., jim mattis recounts his military career and his thoughts on leadership in his book callsign chaos, learning to read. watch book tv every weekend on c-span2. up next, richard discusses the movement of 2020 election, global trade and tariffs and trump administration. it's hosted by the christian science monitor. >> good morning. our guest today is richard, president of the afl ci. the largest generation of labor union. this is his 11th appearance so
you have become a labor day tradition for us. welcome. first, background, is born and raised in southwestern pennsylvania where he followed his father and grandfather into the coal mines and worked his way through college and law school. he is a graduate from penn state. graduation, he joins a legal staff of the united mine workers and became president of the age of 33. since 1989, he spent working on the executive council and elected president of the federation in 2009. there on the record here, no live blogging or tweeting. in short, no filing of any kind while it's underway.
once the session ends, you can file away. we will e-mail pictures to all the reporters here as soon as it ends. if you'd like to ask questions, send me a signal and i will call on you as time permits. if you like to make a brief opening remark, the floor is yours. >> i can't believe it's been 11 years. that's incredible. you say happy early labor day to everybody here. i want to thank you for hosting us. i want to thank each one of you for being here today. i've been in this more than 50 years now. actually, 52. i've never really witnessed a moment like this and i've never felt this much energy and determination for working people. i've never seen this movement so
driven to take our own future in our own hands. working people are rising to meet a moment in history because we know something is deeply wrong. our nation is being taken over by rhetoric at the highest levels of government. people of color are being scapegoated, minimized, dehumanized and told to go back where they came from. racist dog whistles have been replaced with megaphones. women are openly degraded and discriminated against america welcomes that along a beacon of hope for immigrant, refugees and asylum seekers by including my own parents as being bulldozed
and paved over, replaced with a clear message that you're not welcome here. meanwhile, the rich continue unprecedented money and power while people who build the wealth are working harder and longer for less with less dignity and harsher and more dangerous workplaces. the last 30 years, the top 1% has increased by $21 trillion and in the same time, the wealth of the bottom 50% has decreased by $900 billion. so we are faced with the reality of historic inequality and bigotry that goes all the way to the top. the labor movement in our labor movement is moving forward by solidarity.
in 2017, more than a quarter of a million people joint unions, three quarters of those work below the age of 35. in 2018, half a million people walked a picket line, the most in a generation. by nearly 1000 members elected to public office, ushering in a series of coworker legislative victories in 2019. not only is a labor movement set higher than ever, in 2020 presidential election past union workers said they would join a union worker today if given the chance. ... ...
i guess it's a great place to start with that. president trump's. 's campaign promise was a big reason why he won michigan and wisconsin and my home state of pennsylvania. the proposed replacement falls short of what we need. see we are not looking for tinkering with the rebranded nafta. we need to replace it with a truly pro worker deal that uses the united states enormous interest and economic power to uphold the rights indignities of working people both here and
across north america. so it's a number of critical issues that we have raised and continue to raise but chief among them is this, the proposed new nafta is simply not enforceable. in particular mexico has yet to demonstrate that it has the resources and infrastructure to follow through on its promise to reform and trade without enforcement is a windfall for corporations and disaster for workers but we want to get to yes. but if mexico can't insure their workers ability to bargain higher wages through a real union than the entire deal is a nonstarter. that's why i'm announcing today that i will be leaving the delegation of u.s. labor leaders to mexico city on wednesday to
me personally with president lopez or by door. he's been a friend of the labor movement and i believe he is acting in good faith but i wanted to share those concerns directly with him. we need him to show us how mexico will guarantee a worker's rights to raise wages through free and democratic unions and if that doesn't happen working people all across north america will continue to suffer. at this point i believe it's been. clear that without the support of the labor movement with the united states and mexico and in canada the new nafta will meet the same fate as tpp. it's also clear that while we can't fix the economy economic
rules, if we don't fix nafta we also can't fix the rules if we only fix nafta. in 2019, 20 and beyond, the american labor movement will be engaging in a full-court press a wide range of economic policies that advance good jobs, higher wages, great methods on the freedom to form a union. starting with the passage of the pro act the most aggressive labor law reform since the national labor relations act. working people are fighting every day. we are fighting with every ounce of energy that we have two reclaim what is rightfully that of the working people. so this labor day we aren't going to settle for anything less than the workers deserve and having said that i will be happy to open up for questions.
>> thanks very much. i will open up with a question and open the floor if anybody wants to throw it out i will put you on the list. after that big labor convention he told the crowd that canada must be pro worker and per union to win the al -- al cao's endorsement so how do you rank the top democrats in the race with warren sanders and buttigieg. you said bernie sanders is a huge push for labor and buttigieg also. >> i'm excited that all the candidates are talking about workers rights and about unions and about the power of collective bargaining. that's a big plus. we have also urged everyone of those candidates to meet with as many members as we can and in as
many different forms as we can so they can make their case to the american worker. and the endorsement of a candidate will come through from the bottom up from our members or executive counsel and our executive counsel has to have a large vote, 70% vote in order to endorse anybody in that means they have to have no large groundswell of support. we will see what happens among the candidates and how our members relate to those candidates. i think you have seen those candidates talk more about the issues that are important to working people than we have seen in the past. that's a positive thing and people always say to us what you want in a candidate? we want a candidate who wants what workers need and if that candidate wants what workers need we have a chance. if they only give us platitudes
and they only say they are in a union group that raises antennas most of the time for those five candidates that you talked about have fully supported and have a history of supporting unions over the years and we will see how they intend to change the rules of the economy so they make america work for the workers. >> it's a top priority. who do you think is the best president to be. is that president trump or is it the labor message? >> a workers message actually and it's a combination of of all of those. i guess if you can't be him you can't change the rules but i think if they make the case for changing the rules they are going to be able to have success in an election so it's not an either/or. it's actually a combination of both and the more that they talk about changing the rules it's
not just trade. its tax laws come its tax laws comments regularization said health and safety. it's education education, its health care comments pensions, its bankruptcy laws that have stripped workers of their paychecks over the years. what changes they make on all of that and our members will say that's the one we want. >> john from news max steyer right. >> thank you. going back to when they afl-cio was formed and george meany dealt with the republican secretary of labor there has always been tension between the president of the afl-cio and republican secretaries of labor to some degree. two nights ago president trump formally nominated eugene scalia to the secretary of labor. will the afl-cio opposed the
nomination actively and if so, why? >> well, when eugene scalia was nominated for solicitor of labor back and 2002, we actively opposed him because he didn't have a record of being antiunion and all of that time. since 2002 his record has only gotten worse. he called repetitive injury at one time junk science. he has made a career out of trying to bust unions and trying to do things like that and as a result i would say it's most likely, i would say it's most likely we will continue to oppose him because we opposed him in 2002 and his record has only gotten worse.
if you quite frankly art dangerously outside of the mainstream and leave us no choice but to oppose him. >> jerry from the buffalo news to your left. >> i wanted to talk to you about a labor issue. recently what i would call the starbucks of ruffalo the workers voted to unionize and this struck us as somewhat unusual for a small coffee shop for people to unionize so i'm just wondering if you are aware of the situation if you see this as any kind of precedent for service centers are a workers nationwide who organize in the smallest of companies? >> you know it doesn't surprise me at all. this is happening everywhere and people in small units medium-size units and big sized units really need the voice of a
union. we are seeing right now for instance in the airline industry , jeb lou and spirit airlines, customer service agents and food catering stuff, graduate workers at brown and columbia and georgetown and harvard, journalists at the "l.a. times", "chicago tribune," "new york" magazine, new republic, "buzzfeed" sleepy onion and fox media. they all voted to organize so people all over the country are organizing and here's why. workers do not believe that the political system or the economic system is working for them so they have turned to each other. they understand the only way they are going to get anything is by joining together in using their collect the power whether they are in a coffee store or a coal mine in a classroom at college or kindergarten.
the only way to get something is to come together and bargain collectively. so it surprises me not in the least that we have seen it elsewhere. we have starbucks and other places that are organized and we have different types of things with doctors that are organized and they organize for multiple different reasons. nurses organize in a number of places for their patients. no one would listen to them so they organized a union so that they could argun for fairer staffing or fair trade and so that is sort of why i am so excited about this labor day and where we are and that type of momentum, workers believing in each other is really catching fire all over the country.
>> in this particular situation for three employees who were trying to organize the unions were fired and i think that kind of got the other -- about joining. is it more difficult in a smaller environment for workers to come together? >> unfortunately what you just said is typical. let me explain to you what happened in america because of our antiquated labor laws. remember these laws were done in 1947. the first was 35 and the second was 47 and one and 59 all of which took workers rights away. a group of workers want to organize because they want to bargain collectively with their employer. the employer immediately hires what are called union busters, firms who specialize in doing nothing but preventing workers
from getting ahead. they do have meetings where they will bring you altogether and you must come, it's mandatory in all they do is spend two or three hours talking about how bad unions are. many of them are not even allowed to speak. in fact we had a case where someone tried to speak and tried to leave and the employer fired him. and then they threaten you to take away her job and when they don't see that happening a quick fire you and guess what happens? when you get fired under today's laws and it may take you three or four years to get your job back. that means you will have the work somewhere. all the money that you make is deducted from that them player that illegally fired you have to make so it's cheap but that head is up on the wall for everybody
else. if you dare try to exercise your rights your statutory rights and have a union i will fire you. so after you get through all of that sometimes they won't recognize it and they appeal it for four or five years. entelechy fight the courts for four or five years and then when you get recognize they sit down and they say we will negotiate with you. we call it surface bargaining. they mouth in the worse but there are no intentions. in 50% of the cases after you've gone through all of that you end up not being able to get it done. that's typically, it's typical that workers want to avoid losing their jobs small to medium and large and typical response of the employer is to violate the law because there is
no cost to them for violating the law. it cost them virtually nothing. they get to deduct the penalty. as a result we are trying to get the pro act back. the proactive would be a rewrite of the law and it would put real teeth into it to make an employer who fire somebody illegally paid triple, three times what they do just like they do in the antitrust laws. we do a number of other things as well so making sure in first contracts if you come to an impasse you arbitrate the first contract so you could get going together. that's why the pro act is important and over 200 co-sponsors in the house and 41 sponsors in the senate and we would be pushing forward and hopefully we'll get it done. when we do get it done the president if it's under this president he will get to
demonstrate his real love for workers. >> julie pace from ap to your right. >> i'm wondering if you think that president trump strank and 2016 in michigan and wisconsin has had an impact on the way the democratic candidates are talking about trade talking about unions and talking about workers in this election. >> you know would you mind if i went back and sort of answer that with a little bit more of an expansive answer to give you a framework because i can give you a three-part answer but it wouldn't really be the way it is. look, harvard did a study on millennials and they asked them how important is to live in a democracy. 30% of millennials said they want to live in the democracy
and 24% said it's bad to live in a democracy and they wonder why. that's the first generation in this country that has lived their entire lives under the rules of globalization. all they have ever seen our wages going down, their parents health care taken away, pensions taken away. they have probably seen their parents or someone they know lose a home or a household. then they are told don't worry, you can go to school and everything will be hunky-dory for you so they go to school and they come out with a mountain of debt and they can't find a job either. they are starting to believe the reprieve that capitalism is equal to low wages in security and poverty. those same workers over that
three decades have seen stagnant wages in pennsylvania and michigan and minnesota and wisconsin and west virginia and any number of states. they don't believe the political system works for them and they don't leave the economics work for them. along comes donald trump and says i'm going to change the rules. i'm going to change the rules so they work for you and people said i want somebody to change the rules. i'd like to give them a chance so they voted for him. now, i think the lesson and to your question, i think the lesson to democrats in these candidates particularly have come to understand is, unless you talk about the economic issues that affect the working people you are not going to elect a so they have begun talking about the kitchen table
economics that affect workers. the more they do that the more workers will connect with them and the more support they will get. >> she talked about kitchen table issues and she talked about working people. is there something different about the way democrats are talking about it now than maybe she did our other stood? >> it's been a piece of their campaign. that's a party. they are talking about changing the rules of the economy to make the country work for workers. the economic rules were secondary. now kitchen table economics are first and foremost. workers are starting to listen. they are having conversations on the ground in iowa and philadelphia suburbs in pittsburgh and columbus, ohio. they are having those actual
conversations with workers in the workers are listening because they want somebody who will change the rules of the economy to make the country work for workers and when we do that i think we start to reverse that trend and you start to see more kids saying living in a democracy is important. the fact that there is a potential implosion which we just reflected a few days ago by the ceos of the business roundtable, 181 of them came together and signed a new agenda about what's the purpose of the corporation. remember before the purpose of a corporation was to maximize your overall value in the helped create inequality that we see, the growing inequality and now they are saying rightfully so a corporation has obligations to workers the state that they live
in and the community where they reside. we will see if they translate that into real action but it is different. because of the amount of respect and i guess credibility that the corporate ceos have in this country have diminished dramatically this could be an election where both candidates aren't the holden to them and to talk harshly to them. we will see. >> amanda becker from reuters. >> in the 2020 race as you said you have a field of candidates that are talking about issues that are important to the labor movement. you see in terms of issues and a early differentiators between the candidates not specifically about what those issues might be? is one of the medicare for all? that the one thing that has
emerged dividing the field at this point in some of the candidates now supporting medicare for all they think the reason why is labor so i was wondering your thoughts on that issue and how important it will be in terms of securing labor supported and also if there are any other issues emerging at this point? >> first of all those issues are going to continue to evolve. i think in a year and some time for that to happen but on the issue of medicare for all there's no question ultimately we need to establish our single-payer system. there has to be a role whether it's hard fought high-quality plaintively negotiated and second of all uk and ask the american worker who sacrificed wages and everything to simply say okay, i will accept this
plan here whenever i currently have this plan here. if in fact there isn't a way for us to get this play into this plan and remember when we do go to a plan like that for medicare for all it's going to generate huge savings for employers, tremendous amounts of savings. the question will be what happens to the savings than? where did they go? do did they all go to the corporation's? do we get to share them? do we get to split them and what we are saying is our plan we have given up wages to get there there has to be a way for us to recoup that, every worker to recruit that -- were cooped that if their employer will get when the system becomes affordable. our plan should have some role in that and we ought to be able to go to a higher nick, negotiate a higher level and in fact wearable to do that with an
employer. >> i know sanders tried to put out something the middle of last week to do just what you are talking about. are they getting into the nitty-gritty and what would you say to some the candidates on the left that say now you can negotiate further things and you can focus on wages now that you don't have to only focus on health plans like medicare for all? >> you know this is going to continue to evolve and guess what? i didn't have to talk to any of them. they heard that from the members on the ground. me going and talking to anyone of those candidates probably would not have much effect but when they hear it in south carolina and they hear it in iowa and they hear it in pennsylvania and michigan and wisconsin and nevada and arizona , they start to take heed if they are smart.
you have to be able to understand what people want and then try to figure out a way to meet that need. that's what they haven't done in the past and i think this is a good sign that candidates are actually listening to what workers really want and what they need. >> sibile hovland from inside u.s. trade. >> how are ustr and u.s. stakeholders going? has ustr pitched his solution to the issue and has a panel block information issue and secondly what specific evidence are you looking for next week in mexico city for that guarantee? >> there are actually three levels of enforcement that we have a problem with right now with the trade agreement.
the first level is mexico has for years kept the wages artificially low. that has been there motto to keep them low. to do that they use a thing called the protection of contract where they had government nominate a union that really weren't unions at all. they would go in negotiate with an employer for low wages and let me give you an example of just one of those. so you know what i mean about low wages. last year in the disco closed down five plants in the u.s. and two in canada. they created the most modern victories in the world. it's the size of a car assembly plant, massive. it's a postmodern plant. they have three wage levels at that plant. level 1 is 97 cents an hour,
level 2 is $1.20 and the top dog is $1.70 an hour. that contract was negotiated with nabisco last year using that protection of contract. there are a minimum of 700,000 of those rejectionists contracts in mexico and unless those are gone, unless they are gone we won't the able to see wages rise the way they should care. here's what mexico's promise is in agreement. they promised first they would change their labor laws. they have done so however there are almost 1000 challenges lodged by those old protectionist unions and in one case they put an injunction against the enforcement of the
new law. so they promised to do that. they promised to create a new system. they promised to create a new department of labor, train people to do away with all 700 of those protectionist contracts and have an election in four years. that means each year they have to do away with 175 thousand contracts and hold 175 thousand. our department of labor is incapable of doing that. and they are going to create one and they promised to do that. they can't enforce their labor laws, they, no matter what this agreement says it won't work because they will continue to artificially and unfairly cut jobs out of the united states and take capitol out of the united states.
so the first thing i want to know is what is the plan? how are you going to do at? how much resource you prepared to devote to at? convince me that you have not only the will that you've acted in good faith but you have the wherewithal in the structure to get it done. that's why i'm going to meet with them. the second level of enforcement is you mentioned it. for those of you who perhaps aren't as familiar when you file a complaint under the remit you have conciliation and they have mediation. when you don't even agreement there i appointed mediator and you appointed mediator and you both appoint a third once you have people -- three people to make the decision. they decide.
now it takes eight or nine years for all of that to happen. this agreement allows either party to say you can't form the arbitrator so essentially any mechanism that you have two force in agreement when two parties can agree so it becomes useless. that is level 2. and we have talked about that and we talked about changing that and i think there are probably the likelihood that can be done. i don't know for sure but i'm hoping and we are pushing it. we'll see. the third level as it stands right now i violate the agreement and my products continue to flow like nothing
happened so i continue to buy as i said it takes eight or nine years to get an agreement, to get a decision and in those eight or nine years i continue to violate the agreement and push my products unfairly into your country. we believe he ought to be able to stop. if there's a likelihood that you have violated the act and the product stops at the border before comes in. there is precedent to that. the agreement allows that to happen for products in animals that are illegally taken. her point of view is if it's good enough for treason for animals about to be good enough for people and we want that to stop. so we are working on that as well. there are couple of other instances. a couple of other issues that are important in the agreement as well.
madison, patent rights and creating a north american monopoly for 10 years on drugs so that you can't even do research on the generic for 10 years and any one of the three countries is ridiculous so though we think that needs to change as well. i don't know if he'll follow up or not. >> with me just jump in. this point you have any working relationship with this white house on trade? >> i have a good working relationship with bob lighthizer. i've known bob lighthizer for 30 some years. i would state unequivocally that he is an honorable man, that we are working to try to get it and if we can we willl and if we don't we will fight.
i think that he will try and i'm going to mexico to see if i can try as well because on all three of the issues it would take at least a reopening for some of the issues, couple of them so i'm going to help. if the administration insists on an up-or-down vote right now we would oppose it and i think we would be successful in opposing it. i think the mexican worker would oppose it with us. i think they would oppose a. >> mark rutenberg from press associates. >> thank you for talking with us, rich. irrespective of who wins the nomination next year, has the afl-cio and your political committee started laying plans for what labour's effort is going to be?
>> absolutely. we started a year ago. we started a year ago and it will be -- and 2018 we went to the biggest member to member program we have ever had and i will pull out a few actuals for you so i don't it up. we knocked on two and 43 million doors. we distributed 5 million flyers. we have sent out a quarter million texts, highlighted text, 4 million pieces of mail. we did it digital ad campaign. we launched our largest ever media campaign engaging peoples of color in african-american and nations in 20 different media markets in and this time it will be even more so. we started last year pushing our
members to talk to their members on a regular basis about issues that are important to them. so we have been successful. our affiliates have talked to their members and the members are confronting candidates. that sounds wrong. they are asking candidates about their positions on different issues that are important to them and forcing the candidates to think about it. if they have a position they stated and if they don't they think it through and get a position. that's where we been largely successful. we'll do that again. we will focus on the house and the senate and we will focus on targeted states. my director of political action is here. after we are done here if you want to ask her some additional questions please feel free to.
>> the afl-cio has its member unions kick in extra for politics. he planning to do that again? >> i don't know. we'll see what the program is put right now we have been preparing for this. financially we are stronger than we have ever been. we are preparing for it and we have a plan, very synchronized effective plan and we have been training in a way that we never have before and we are working with them like we never have before. >> given the hits you've taken with so-called right to work laws in some states. and also. >> we have grown. that was supposed to be the
knockout blow. that was supposed to be the knockout. in fact i will give you a couple of figures. afc was one of the public sectors and they grew by 88,500 members and it has to be can -- ask me converted members and a full members. as i started we started talking to our members. it was sort of a nice little wake-up call and there is a part of me that says thank you through that haymaker add that we were able to deflect. we started effectively talking to our members. we grow quarter of a member -- a quarter of a million members. in 19 we'll see. we started out with legislative victories that are great and we have the ability to negotiate for 20,000 workers in nevada. we have the ability to organize
3000 people, loggers and so we have been successful with changing those laws. the other thing that i mentioned in my opening was we have also since 2018 focused on running union members, having our own members run. in the last election we elected thousands of union members and 2018. two of them governors and two of them senators, 18 in the house of representatives and 960 some whatever comes out to in-state and senate and house races. there will be beefed-up. this year in all elections we have collected 63 more. we have done an inventory of the people that we have in public office in pennsylvania. we are about ready 500 people
and counting. we are starting to coordinate those people, talk to those people. >> tonya snyder from "politico." >> you and your friends at the u.s. chamber of commerce have been pushing for a long time for an increase infrastructure investment. whether we get to a stand-alone bill of any kind that congress is going to have to put more money into the transportation program before the next presidential election. how are you going to change the conversation around increasing the gas tax or infrastructure investments and what you've been doing for the last several years hasn't borne through. how are you going to get there? >> we are going to help change the people that have been stopping us.
thisthis has been stopped continuously by mitch mcconnell in the senate. look, everybody agrees we need infrastructure. a society of civil engineers gives us a d and infrastructure. we need about $2 trillion in infrastructure for the old stuff to get it up to par in for the new stuff we need to move ahead. everybody knows that. everybody agrees we need to do it but it doesn't get done. it doesn't get done because they don't have the will to raise that so we are going to continue to talk about it publicly, expose what's happening. people are tired of spending hours and hours and hours sitting because the infrastructure in this country is bad. we collectively have said you need to unfreeze the tax but they won't do it. so we will see. we will continue to push.
>> unseating mitch mcconnell is the plan? >> if you wrote that he would be at totally colossal misrepresentation -- misrepresentation of what i'm saying. that's part of the problem. the problem is they lack the collective will to do what they have to do for infrastructure. they know what needs to be done but they won't do it. one of the major problems and if you were replaced yes it would be a step forward unless somebody equally bad replaced him. we are placed him with somebody who said look we need to do this, let's do it in a bipartisan way. then they can shoot is for raising taxes. that's what needs to be done for the betterment of the country. our infrastructure falls apart. we are getting further and further behind.
i don't know if any of you have been to china. sit on one of their trains going 300 miles an hour and then go to philadelphia or new york where you hold the glass of milk and it ends up being a milkshake. [laughter] that needs to change for the good of the country. it really does. >> to you're right alex wood, from the spanish news agency. >> under the trump administration the unemployment rate has been pretty low so far but the wage growth has affected the economic computations. what is your take on that? the u.s. workers are suffering from the situation and secondly -- the situation of the wages are not growing as expected even
though there is a very low unemployment rate and secondly where are you going to mexico within the delegation? who is going with you? >> who is going with me? i'm not sure if everybody who is going with me but it will be members of my executive counsel. there will probably be one from the construction trade and one from the public sector trades and one from the industrial or so we have the transportation sector, so that we have a broad smattering. we go with the president and the secretary of labor, and we will meet with workers down there as well. one of the senators napoleon gomez, is a personal friend of mine. he is now a senator. we will meet with them as well and with members of the parliament.
last quarter real wages actually fell and last year wages fell over all. driven by increases in the price of housing and health care. that is driving wages so we keep falling further and further behind and that's where reseen anxiety. that's why you see the collective action where people are trying to change. that's why you are seeing teachers that are willing to go out on strike and not just for wages but for things that they need in the classroom for their children. uc graduate workers who have been taken advantage of for years and years and years. the unemployment rate, we will see what happens with the it doesn't equate to what workers
believe that the economic or political system is working for them and the proof has been stagnated for three years. education is getting further out of reach. they can't get it anymore because of the cost. so they continue to feel more and more left behind by an economy that i would have to say is in the wall street dominated economy and the government who listens first to wall street. i believe that is starting to change. i think that's good and i think when they start listening to main street more than wall street we will start to make changes on infrastructure and the other things that the country needs. >> with that just a few minutes left. maybe we can have a little lightning round. we have to from the "washington examiner" sean higgins and paul madar do you want to both quickly?
>> we have an unusual unprecedented phenomenon of presidential campaigners getting organized and i wonder what you thought of as a practical thing given the in parent temperance campaign in which you support if workers decided to go on strike or something of that nature? >> i believe every worker should have a voice on the job and temporary workers are generally the ones who are affected the most. think probably what will happen is we could start to negotiate a fair standard for workers and then everybody buy into it. that could mean one additional solution we could have. i have that fidelity in the morning the afternoon and i do not have that fidelity in 1965 and i have it today. >> paul bedard.
>> it could be worse. you haven't talked specifically -- [inaudible] you haven't really talked about trump. you have any faith in trump and bouncing off of julie's question from trump's side why can't he go into the states and say listen unemployment is down, the economy is doing pretty good and i'm trying to do something on nafta. it's a message i would think would have some resonance. >> i think it's not going to have the effect. i have a -- i anticipated he might ask me about that particularly. you see this right here? you see this right here? these are all the things that
his administration has done to hurt workers so that when you go into a state and you have a minimum wage worker and he is opposed every increase to the minimum wage you have to ask do you really care about the worker? when his department of labor changes the overtime rules and 2 million people lost over time, if you are one of those 2 million people you have to ask yourself can you do something to help me? when he took away the fiduciary rule and the cost working people more than a quarter of their retirement savings by slashing that rule you have to ask yourself, i lost a quarter of my savings. if you really cared about me, when he says he's going to take a couple trillion dollars out of social security and medicare,
when he changes the rules and when he defends right to work laws in the supreme court, all of those things, i have six pages of things just like that. while he says i like workers, maybe he doesn't know what his administration and what they are doing in those various departments. maybe he doesn't know what they are doing to her workers but i kind of believe he knew that eugene scalia wasn't a friend working people when he named him to the only department that is designed to protect workers and workers rights. right now there are fewer inspectors and osha than ever in its history. we have never had fewer osha
inspectors. we have had more accidents, more injuries and health care people dying. you can talk -- he is a case to be made and then believe me i'm still doing this. i'll i am doing is calling balls and strikes. when he does something that's good for workers i say he did something that is good for workers. when he does something bad for workers i say he's done something that is bad for workers and unfortunately for workers they see more of the latter than the former. i wish that were not true because workers in this country would be much better off if it weren't true. [inaudible] >> shirt. he at least has the willingness to take on and change nafta.
that was the worst agreement that ever happened and it needed to be change. will they get it right? we will see. we are trying to get it right because that's good for workers. >> marjory from the financial times wrote across the table. >> you told your members that nancy pelosi was lockstep with you. have you seen any times and she's coming under pressure from some democrats who are traditionally conservative from a swing district to one the last unicycle before that's a whole the vote. are you convinced that the democrats are going to stay together on this or are you worried there's going to be a little bit of a fracture as we get close to the primary's? >> i think she has done a remarkable job of keeping together a very diverse caucus.
i think democrats will stay in lockstep on trade because it's such an important issue for working people and they represent working people. in fact on the conservative side and the liberal side they have come together on that issue. 70 some% of the american public believe that those trade agreements particularly nafta had been bad for this country and so it's easy to stay together on the she's done a remarkable job. she appointed a group of eight people to work with them. the house will do nothing without those eight. they are working hard to get an agreement that is acceptable to working people. we coordinate with them. i think they are doing an incredible job. those people have spent significant amounts of time understanding, talking and trying to work through issues. >> one more question mark trumbo
from the "christian science monitor" the end of the table. >> thank you very much. violent of the labor movement has new energy and greater public opinion of unions. what is the path forward if you want to get the america more toward a europe style amount of respect for unions and labor relations vexes a mainly through legislation as you have outlined or are there other paths that also need to be taken? >> first of all i don't remember if i said this or not, they have put us at 64%. that's roughly the highest we have been with a year or two exception in 50 years. 64%. yesterday or the day before it came out. i don't remember which one it was but we are also working in the community. first of all i will talk about
the building trade to the building trade is bringing people out to the community women and people of color to get into our trade programs. a number of courses were necessary to pass the entrance exam to get them in. we are doing community projects where we are helping communities. we are doing housing projects. we are doing different things from her housing investment trust. we been working with the communities to demonstrate that we are them. you probably don't know it but you and your members are probably on the hierarchy in the school system somewhere. they affect lives in numerous ways so we are trying to figure out and point out how we do that. we are also using conservation. we have a group called the union alliance that does on the ground projects rehabilitating state parks and federal parks.
we did 100 projects and it took us five years to do the first 100 projects and it took us 12 months to do the second 100 projects so now we are up and running doing those projects, helping communities from texas to maine to oregon. we have done a bunch in wyoming and at yellowstone. it's showing people what we are and our work and we are expanding our systems, or apprenticeship systems into other industries beyond the construction industry. we are working with small employers and midsized employers to be able to develop apprenticeship programs that will spin out if they need 10 or 12 people they can't really do an apprenticeship program that we can work with them and partner with local community colleges to develop the project
and that curriculum and train workers so we are reaching out and doing all of that stuff. labor laws stop people from being able to work. i told you what happened simply the one i tell you this, that's not in any way from this side of the country to the other side of the country. let me just say have a happy labor day. >> thank you so much and we will see you next year. >> you bet. >> all right, thank you. [inaudible conversations]
>> i don't think well-meaning people and people who are trying to be part of a movement recognize that the history so when a eugenicist was classified as racist they said i'm not racist. when jim crow segregationist were charged with being racist they said i'm not racist and today white nationalists are saying i am not racist no matter whether they are in the white house or planning the next mass shooting. ..