Labor Voices: Trump would kill Michigan jobs

Ron Bieber

Donald Trump sure likes to talk. If you turn on your TV right now, there’s a good chance you’ll see him talking about how he’s going to get tough with countries like China on trade.

But if you listen closely to all that talking, you figure out pretty quickly that Donald Trump is all hot air. The truth is, Trump doesn’t give a rip about working people.

In an interview last year, Trump suggested a plan to compete with Mexico for auto jobs by closing “a couple of plants” and shifting car production from Michigan to parts of the country where autoworkers earn less.

“You can go to different parts of the United States and then ultimately you’d go full-circle,” said Trump. “You’ll come back to Michigan because those guys are going to want their jobs back even if it is less.”

That kind of thinking is downright dangerous, and would be an absolute disaster for Michigan’s economy.

Think about it for a second. Trump’s plan would involve shuttering “a couple of plants” and laying off thousands of Michigan autoworkers for years, if not decades, as a cynical way to slash their wages. In the process, countless jobs would be destroyed, unemployment and foreclosures would skyrocket, and tax revenue would plummet — forcing the state to slash funding for local schools and public safety.

Even Mitt “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt” Romney never dreamed up such a harebrained idea.

But it gets worse. On the website for his failed Trump University, Trump once wrote a blog titled “Outsourcing Creates Jobs in the Long Run.”

“We hear terrible things about outsourcing jobs — how sending work outside of our companies is contributing to the demise of American businesses,” wrote Trump. “But in this instance I have to take the unpopular stance that it is not always a terrible thing.”

He wasn’t kidding. All you have to do is look at any Trump shirt or tie sitting on the clearance rack at your local department store, and you’ll see labels that say “Made in China” or “Made in Bangladesh.”

Now that he’s running for president, Trump says “It’s very hard to have apparel made in this country.” But the truth is, Trump could choose to manufacture his products in America, as some clothing brands like Brooks Brothers have done. Instead, he continues to make his products overseas, because it means more money in his pocket. And at the end of the day, that’s all Trump really cares about — making more money for himself at the expense of working people.

After all, this is the same man who once stood on a debate stage and said “Our wages are too high.” And the same man who once said “I think having a low minimum wage is not a bad thing for this country.” And let’s not forget that Trump has been accused by hundreds of carpenters, dishwashers and painters of not paying them for their work.

Donald Trump will do a lot more talking between now and Election Day. As voters, we have a responsibility to pay close attention, because actions speak louder than words.

So far, Trump’s actions have shown that he would be a total disaster for working people if he’s elected — and he’d be especially terrible for Michigan’s economy.

Labor Voices

Labor Voices columns are written on a rotating basis by United Auto Workers President Dennis Williams, Teamsters President James Hoffa, Michigan AFL-CIO President Ron Bieber and Michigan Education Association President Steven Cook.