FOR ANY MEMBER of the American labor movement, the choice for president ought to be crystal clear: Democrat Hillary Clinton. Here's why.
Clinton is committed to protecting Project Labor Agreements, which are prehire collective bargaining agreements with one or more labor organizations that establish the terms and conditions of employment for a specific construction project.
She will protect prevailing wage, which is the hourly wage, established benefits and overtime pay paid to the majority of workers, laborers and mechanics within a particular area.
In her first 100 days as president, Clinton has pledged to make bold investments in infrastructure (such as the subway expansion into the Navy Yard I have long championed), manufacturing, research and technology, clean energy and small business, creating millions of good-paying American jobs. She will restore collective-bargaining rights for unions and defend against partisan attacks on workers' rights. She'll also stand up against attacks on collective bargaining, as we're experiencing now in Pennsylvania.
As we all know, she'll fight to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. She also supports the Obama administration's expansion of overtime rules to millions more workers. She'll invest in quality training, apprenticeships and skill-building programs for workers. Clinton also will encourage companies to invest in their workers. She'll reward companies that share profits and invest in their workers, while penalizing companies that move profits overseas to avoid paying U.S. taxes. Those U.S. companies that export jobs will have to give back the tax breaks they've received in America if Clinton is elected president.
Clinton will protect workers from scams such as employer misclassification, wage theft and other forms of exploitation, which is right in tune with what the Philadelphia Building Trades has been doing. She's even spoken of funding better enforcement of workers' rights. She'll also fight for equal pay for women and guarantee paid leave.
She will protect our retirement security. She understands that Americans deserve a secure and comfortable retirement. She'll also enhance - not privatize - Social Security and fight any efforts to undermine retirement benefits. That's something our fathers and grandfathers are paying close attention to.
For the labor movement, this should be a slam-dunk decision for president, but some union members here in the city and across the country might be leaning toward Republican Donald Trump.
Other than his craziness and sarcastic remarks that have caught the attention of some of our people, I can't understand why any union member would vote for a guy who hates everything we stand for.
Trump would work to repeal the Davis Bacon Act, a federal law that establishes the requirement for paying the local prevailing wages on public works projects. He supports right-to-work laws. That's right, Trump supports right-to-work laws! He thinks American workers wages are "too high." He outsources his own companies' products to low-wage countries such as China and Bangladesh. He's filed for bankruptcy four times, stiffing many contractors and subcontractors every time - many of them right here in our region - and he's proud of it. He even admitted in the first debate with Clinton that he doesn't pay his fair share of federal taxes and that that makes him "smart." I think it makes him just like the unscrupulous contractors that use and abuse Form 1099 job classifications to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.
For the next few weeks, the Philadelphia Building Trades Council is embarking on a "Countdown to E-Day" in which we will host rallies, operate phone banks, participate in labor walks, run advertising and energize our labor base in the five-county greater Philadelphia region to get out the vote for Clinton.
I've heard from some Trump supporters within the labor community who like Trump's supposed outsider status and his willingness to say what's on his mind, no matter how outrageous and insulting. They find him funny. That's fine - except we're not electing the joker-in-chief.
The Green Party's Jill Stein and Libertarian Gary Johnson are not options. They cannot win. Please don't waste your vote on them.
To those union brothers and sisters in the Philadelphia building trades, I say, trust your local business managers. I am proud to say that the young leaders of the building trades are the best and the brightest in the history of the Building Trades Council. They know the choice must be Clinton. Only she can and will protect labor's hard-earned rights.
Don't joke away your job on Trump. Vote your job.
Democrat Hillary Clinton for president.