President of the United Association (UA) Mark McManus and General President of the Laborer’s Union of North America (LiUNA) Terry O’Sullivan praised President Trump in an appearance on Morning Joe Wednesday.
Following Trump’s executive orders approving the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipelines and ordering that those pipelines be built with American steel, the labor leaders praised his actions as good for middle America.
“Less than 24 hours after we had the meeting [with Trump], five executive orders are going to put tens of thousands of construction workers to work on the energy sector… These are good, middle-class jobs, and we are extremely encouraged by the executive orders and the respect that was shown to our organizations and to our members at that meeting,” O’Sullivan said.
When host Joe Scarborough asked the leaders about the relationship between Republican leaders and labor unions, McManus differentiated between private sector and public sector unions.
“If you separate… the private and public sector unions, we’re private sector unions. We represent a whole bunch of middle-of-the-road folks, conservative folks, church-going folks, huntermen, fishermen…” McManus pointed out.
While traditionally aligned with Democratic politics, Trump’s outreach to labor unions could signal the beginning of a political realignment.
These comments followed praise from AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, who also lauded Trump’s willingness to kill the Trans Pacific Partnership and renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). During the campaign, Trumka called Trump an anti-American “bigot,” while LiUNA’s O’Sullivan labeled Trump a “racist, sexist, prejudiced billionaire bully.”
Both are singing a different tune today.
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