Day 18: Labor Pains

I work in the labor movement. The best aspect of my job, without a doubt, is the people. I feel so lucky to work with some brilliant and talented organizers and I feel even luckier that I get to serve amazing working people in the United States. The bravery of individuals that put their livelihoods on the line to fight for a union to better themselves is inspirational.

That’s why the nomination of Andrew Puzder is so troubling. Besides being accused of brutal domestic violence, Puzder is the CEO of one of those predatory employers: Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. Tom Perez, despite his contradictory and absurd support of the Trans Pacific Partnership, still managed to crank out lots of progressive rules while Secretary of Labor, notably the expansion of overtime pay for more workers. Puzder will likely take labor back to the dark ages. His own workforce can corroborate that statement.

A billionaire is greedy and treats his workers poorly, how surprising, that’s the cost of success many Americans might say. That behavior is inexcusable on its own, but coupled with his naked hypocrisy in hiring an undocumented worker, who he then tried to help get legal status, makes him a clown fully fit for this freak show of a presidency. Wasn’t the whole premise of Donald Trump’s campaign based on removing undocumented people from our country?

He’s not the only hypocrite in that pack of wolves. Lou Dobbs, a Fox News business analyst, who espouses a philosophy that basically wrote the playbook for Donald Trump’s campaign platform (opposition to free trade, demonizing immigrants), is rewarded for taking these bigoted views onto television to the tune of millions of dollars. So, like other wealthy people, he bought a few horses, who were tended to by undocumented workers. Like Puzder, he also pays workers poorly.

We need to treat our immigrants better. From the time we first landed as undocumented immigrants on Plymouth Rock (and the horrible way we treated the folks who were here first), to the slaves that were brought to this country as forced immigrants, to the stigmatization of European immigrants in the 1920s and 1930s, to the callous treatment of our Muslim and Hispanic immigrants today, we cannot allow this legacy to continue. We would all do better, economically and socially, to welcome those to our country with open arms.

Alabama tried to boot all of their immigrants and it backfired. California Republicans tried to boot immigrants out of their state and became obscure and irrelevant in the process. With Trump, the third time trying this tasteless trick won’t be a charm.

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