Posted with permission from Confined Space, a newsletter of workplace safety and labor issues.
While it may go without saying, there’s probably no President in American history more reviled by worker advocates than Ronald Reagan.
So in what can only be seen as a gross insult to the American labor movement and workers who have fought — and often died — to protect the rights and lives of working people in this country, Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta today named Reagan to the U.S. Department of Labor Hall of Honor.
|This can only be seen as a gross insult to the American labor movement and workers who have fought — and often died — to protect the rights and lives of working people in this country.|
That would be the same Hall of Honor that honors Senator Ted Kennedy, the 1968 Memphis Sanitation Workers (“I am a Man”), Cesar Chavez, Bayard Rustin, A. Philip Randolph, Frances Perkins and many others who were actual champions of workers.
And that would be the same Ronald Reagan, for those of you who were just born yesterday, who is best known in labor circles as the President who broke the 1981 PATCO strike, by firing over 11,000 air traffic controllers, and inviting American business to declare war on the labor movement, and war that continues to this day. Reagan was also no friend to workplace safety, cutting enforcement, launching anti-regulatory campaigns that seem familiar today, and appointing 35 year old construction executive Thorne Auchter to head OSHA:
Ironically, the Labor Hall of Fame was created in 1988, during the Reagan Administration “to honor Americans whose distinctive contributions have elevated working conditions, wages, and overall quality of life for American families.” Acosta’s justification for today’s announcement is that Reagan was the only American president to be president of labor union — the Screen Actors Guild in the 1940s and 1950s.
Is this Trump getting back at the AFL-CIO’s Rich Trumka and Thea Lee for resigning from his Manufacturing Council? Who can tell.
So what’s next? What could be crazier? The President announcing that Nazis and White Power advocates are very fine people?
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