THE WHITE HOUSE – The AFL-CIO is showing its political might as we head into the 2020 election.
Its Philadelphia branch is holding a Workers’ Presidential Summit on Sept. 17. The Democratic front runner, former Vice President Joe Biden, sent his regards and said he won’t be coming. AFL-CIO Philadelphia branch Council President Pat Eiding expressed to TMN his disappointment about Biden’s canceled visit:
(AUDIO: “It’s very important. Sadly enough, I think it’s more important than some of the candidates realize sometimes. But I can speak for Philadelphia and Pennsylvania, the workers vote here…the workers are the vote here. It’s a very important state for folks who want to try to achieve the White House, and so I would say that the folks that have that ambition really better talk to the workers, because Hillary Clinton kind of forgot that the last time, she kind of went a little bit past us to Wall Street, I think, and the first time she ran – not so much, she was a little better at it.”)
He said that during her campaign for the 2008 Democratic nomination,
(AUDIO: “She came and talked to workers and recreation centers. In 2016, that didn’t happen.”)
This comes after President Donald Trump slammed AFL-CIO President Richard Trumpka Tuesday with a pair of tweets, saying:
….and watched. NAFTA is the worst Trade Deal ever made – terrible for labor – and Richard let it stand. No wonder unions are losing so much. The workers will vote for me in 2020 (lowest unemployment, most jobs ever), and should stop paying exorbitant $Dues, not worth it!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 2, 2019
Trump’s tweet comes after Trumpka said on Fox News Sunday that the new version of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), rebranded as the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA), is “falling short of what we need.”
When asked if both major political parties are ignoring the American worker, Eiding says:
(AUDIO: “Absolutely! I mean originally NAFTA was under Clinton, you know. It sounded like a great idea that went bad, because at that time, thinking back that far, Canada who is our friend, and I think is in a better relationship now, the reason that we got out is that they changed the value of their dollar. Mexico put all their work in the poorest part of their country, and so we end up not competing. And similar to other countries where our work is sent to, we end up on the losing end in every way possible.”)
Eiding explains how Americans are losing with inexpensive Mexican car manufacturing:
(AUDIO: When you think about the automobiles like the Cadillac and Lincoln, how the prime automobile is made in Mexico, what is the reason for that? They’re still charging the prices to buy them here, but they’re being made very cheap down in Mexico.”)
Then Eiding explained how he thinks Nabisco took advantage of NAFTA:
(AUDIO: “And the thing with Nabisco, I feel very strongly here in Philadelphia, I mean we had a plant in Philadelphia for many many years, and they went to Mexico strictly to be able to make Oreos cheaper, and then still sell them for the same price in this country, and take our workers out of the picture. So unless there are some laws that change in Mexico, unless there is some supervision over the way over your workers are treated and the way your workers are paid, we’ll never be able to compete. So there shouldn’t be a NAFTA if that is the way it’s going to be.”)
Doug Christian, The White House