Opinion: Trump broke promise to Michigan workers

Lavora Barnes

This Labor Day, as we enjoy parades, cookouts, and fireworks with our families and friends, we cannot forget what we are celebrating: the brave men and women of the American labor movement and the gains they’ve won for workers across our country throughout our nation’s history. We also cannot forget to stand with our working families to protect those gains and expand on them to build an economy that works for everyone, not just the privileged few.

Here in Michigan, I’m proud we have a governor dedicated to empowering our workers. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is fighting to raise the minimum wage, working towards making equal pay for equal work a reality, and standing with the men and women seeking to repeal our so-called “right-to-work” law.

Eight years after Gov. Rick Snyder launched the all-out Republican assault on our workers, these are much-needed steps towards revitalizing Michigan’s middle class and economy. But if we are truly going to lift up every community throughout our state, we also need a president who will stand up for working families, not give them broken promises and lip service while selling them out to the highest bidder. 

President Donald Trump listens to a question during a press conference on the third and final day of the G-7 summit in Biarritz, France Monday, Aug. 26, 2019. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

Unfortunately, that’s exactly what Michigan can expect from President Donald Trump. Despite his constant promises to stand with workers, Trump has overseen an administration dead set on undoing the very rights that built our middle class. His appointment of anti-worker Supreme Court Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh has led to the gutting of public union rights under Janus, and his National Labor Relations Board has consistently undermined efforts to build fairer workplaces throughout the country. 

As he launches these attacks, Trump has handed out tax cuts to corporations and the wealthy while joining Republicans in their effort to strip health care from everyday Michiganians. Now, as layoffs and closures start to hit Michigan workers and Trump’s reckless economic policies hit their pocketbooks, it’s become clear this president has no plan to lift up our middle class and working families other than tweeting out more empty promises.

With the next presidential election on the horizon, the working people of Michigan know they’ve been left behind by Donald Trump, and they will hold him accountable. We must elect a pro-worker president. Working people and the labor movement built America. Workers made America great — not any individual and certainly not Donald Trump. If we empower American workers and labor unions again, they will make America greater than ever before.

Lavora Barnes is chair of the Michigan Democratic Party.