It’s difficult to fathom that workers who risked their livelihoods to take on a corporate behemoth like Verizon, or back a long-shot union campaign at Volkswagen, went on to vote for a poster child of corporate greed. But after decades of bipartisan fervor for privatization, budget cuts and so-called free trade deals, many workers are disillusioned with both parties.
The lesson of 2016 is clear for labor: Working-class people are angry at the degree of American inequality, desperate for an explanation of how we got here and ready to take drastic action, if presented to them. Whether they opt for Trump and Steve Bannon’s racism or take to the streets against the 1% depends largely on how unions decide to fight back.
In the face of these threats, labor should be the anchor of the resistance to Trump’s policies. Even at the present low ebb, unions represent more than one in 10 U.S. workers—a potential army of 14.6 million people networked together in workplaces across the country, including at key nodes of the economy like warehouses and ports where the prospect of strikes keeps CEOs up at night. Along with raw numbers, unions have decades of organizing know-how and the ability to bring together large numbers of workers across lines of race, gender, nationality and immigration status.
All of the above about Trump and unions brings up the obvious: can Labor Unions now, today, find some meaningful level of solidarity not only with their own memberships, or writ larger the overall remaining union members, and form the vanguard for the progressive labor wing and planks of a true “pro ‘Big D’ Democracy in America” party??? That is what is key…