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50 Ways the Trump Administration Has Eroded Workers’ Rights While Bolstering Corporate Power

WASHINGTON - A new EPI report provides a comprehensive review of the Trump administration’s 50 most egregious attacks on working people as part of a pro-corporate, anti-worker agenda since President Trump took office.

The authors begin with recent actions and extend back to the beginning of Trump’s presidency, first showing how Trump has failed to adequately address the coronavirus pandemic and its economic shock. The Trump administration has vehemently opposed the extension of the $600 increase of unemployment insurance (UI) benefits—which will cost 5.1 million jobs—and additional aid to state and local governments—which will cost 5.3 million jobs.

The report also shows how the Trump administration has failed to protect the health of workers during the pandemic. Trump’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has failed to enforce the Occupational Safety and Health Act or issue any required measures to protect workers from the virus.

“The Trump administration’s mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic marks the administration’s most glaring failure of leadership, but it is in no way distinct from its approach to governing since President Trump’s first day on the job. The administration has systematically promoted the interests of corporate executives and shareholders over those of working people and failed to protect workers’ safety, wages, and rights,” said Celine McNicholas, EPI’s director of government affairs and labor counsel and co-author of the report.

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Other notable Trump administration anti-worker actions include:

  • Attacking workers’ wages: Preventing millions of workers from receiving overtime by lowering the overtime threshold, proposing a rule to allow employers to capture workers’ tips which would cost workers more than $700 million annually, and denying workers a minimum wage increase.
  • Undermining workers’ collective bargaining rights: Obstructing workers’ right to fair union elections, seeking to take away graduate student workers’ right to organize and bargain, and narrowing the joint-employer standard under the National Labor Relations Act.
  • Putting forward anti-worker nominees and appointees in the U.S. Supreme Court, Department of Labor, and National Labor Relations Board.

“President Trump claimed he would fight for workers, but his actions and policies have cost workers wages, undermined their right to organize unions, and failed to protect their health and safety on the job,” said Lynn Rhinehart, EPI’s senior fellow and co-author of the report. “This report shows the real record and exposes Trump’s repeated attacks on workers.”

“The pandemic has merely provided the administration another opportunity to continue its attacks on workers’ rights. Instead of instituting policies to protect the nation’s essential workers, the administration has undermined workplace safety standards,” said Margaret Poydock, EPI’s policy associate and co-author of the report. “It is critical that a new administration work with the same diligence to reverse Trump’s anti-worker policies and also advance a workers’ agenda that provides working people with the rights and protections they need and deserve.”

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The Economic Policy Institute, a nonprofit Washington D.C. think tank, was created in 1986 to broaden the discussion about economic policy to include the interests of low- and middle-income workers. Today, with global competition expanding, wage inequality rising, and the methods and nature of work changing in fundamental ways, it is as crucial as ever that people who work for a living have a voice in the economic discourse.

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