Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

As Trump Obscures Anti-Worker Record Ahead of Labor Day, New Report Details His Actual Worker Agenda: 'Drop Dead'

"Trump has betrayed America's workforce, sacrificing lives at the altar of industry profits."

Jake Johnson

"The Trump administration has systematically dismantled fundamental health and safety protections, and undermined the very agency tasked with safeguarding America’s workforce," Public Citizen's Shanna Devine wrote in a new report. (Photo: Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images)

In the week leading up to Labor Day, President Donald Trump's vicious anti-worker agenda has been on full display: In addition to abruptly canceling a modest pay raise for around two million public employees on Thursday, Trump also signed a retirement savings executive order that was denounced as a gift to Wall Street and "a cruel joke on American workers" facing a retirement income crisis.

Trump "has systematically dismantled worker safeguards, while failing to address growing hazards, signaling to workers: drop dead."
—Shanna Devine, Public Citizen

Yet, as if none of these latest attacks on American workers took place, the White House issued its annual Presidential Labor Day Proclamation late Friday, touting what it describes as Trump's "historic action to advance prosperity for the American worker."

But while the Trump administration may be working hard to obscure its own disastrous anti-worker record—conveniently ignoring the fact that wages for most workers are declining as the obscenely rich continue to get richer—a new Labor Day report by Public Citizen out this week provides uncomfortable truths that Trump and his plutocratic advisers are attempting to erase from history.

"Trump has betrayed America's workforce, sacrificing lives at the altar of industry profits," Shanna Devine, worker health and safety advocate for Public Citizen's Congress Watch division and author of the new report, said in a statement.

As the consumer advocacy group's new report (pdf) details, Trump has effectively made the anti-worker agenda of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce official administration policy by delaying and rolling back key regulations that protect workers from injuries on the job and shield them from exposure to the cancer-causing chemicals and metals like beryllium.

"The Trump administration has systematically dismantled fundamental health and  safety protections, and undermined the very agency tasked with safeguarding America's workforce," Devine wrote, referring to Trump's evisceration of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which has been left with major workplace inspector vacancies.

In addition to gutting OSHA, Public Citizen notes that, at the behest of the business lobby, the Trump White House has rolled back rules that required companies to keep accurate and transparent records regarding on-the-job injuries and scaled back enforcement actions against law-violating corporations.

"Despite the benefits of regulations for workers and the U.S. economy at large," Devine notes, "the Trump administration has repeatedly acted as a mouth piece for industry and argued that regulations  place an unfair burden on the economy and businesses."

"There are many hazards that OSHA could address if the administration were not so intent on dismantling the regulatory system," Public Citizen adds. "For instance, it could protect workers from rising temperatures, healthcare employees from injuries related to handling patients, and meatpacking workers from excessive line speeds. OSHA has recognized each of these examples as posing threats to workers."

But the Trump administration has either refused to act or worked to undermine regulations aimed at addressing these hazards.

So, far from living up to his promise to "protect" and "fight for" American workers as his sanitized Labor Day Proclamation suggests, Public Citizen concludes that Trump "has systematically dismantled worker safeguards, while failing to address growing hazards, signaling to workers: drop dead."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

ACLU Demands 'Truly Systemic Overhaul' of US Civilian Harm Policies

"While a serious Defense Department focus on civilian harm is long overdue and welcome, it's unclear that this directive will be enough," says director of the legal group's National Security Project.

Jessica Corbett ·


'This Is Not Over': Alaska Supreme Court Rejects Youth Climate Case

"With the state continuing to undermine their health, safety, and futures," said the plaintiffs' lead counsel, "we will evaluate our next steps and will continue to fight for climate justice."

Jessica Corbett ·


Analysis Finds 'Staggering' Rise in Voter Suppression After GOP Restrictions in Georgia

"This is why we are fighting this new law in court," said one voting rights advocate.

Brett Wilkins ·


'Egregious': Pennsylvania Court Strikes Down Mail-In Voting Law

The ruling was stayed pending an appeal to the state's Supreme Court and as one voting advocate put it: "The fight's not over yet, folks."

Julia Conley ·


Big Win for Open Internet as Court Upholds California Net Neutrality Law

One legal advocate called the Ninth Circuit's opinion "a great decision and a major victory for internet users in California and nationwide."

Kenny Stancil ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo