Don't Let Hate Fuel Your Vote

By: Tony Speelman

In my 40 years of voting for presidential candidates I have never seen this much hate and animosity towards both candidates in a United States Presidential election. It’s upsetting that our country, which has come so far, has reached a point where hate and disrespect are defining our elections. The media has a lot to do with this. They have so much airtime to fill, and they fill it with hundreds of essentially meaningless stories about both candidates. They have made elections into a reality TV show. This has caused hysteria in our country and what’s more alarming, has further divided us as a nation.  


As I’m writing this I know that you may have many personal opinions on both of the candidates. My goal of this article is to simply lay out where both candidates stand on issues that affect us as union-members and America’s workforce.  This election isn’t about strictly voting for your political party.

Labor Stances:

2016 Republican Party

2016 Democratic Party

Supports federal laws that will defund unions (right to work legislation)

Supports unions, workers banding together to demand more from their employers

Committed to end unionism in the public sector

Supports card check – which allows workers to sign up to join a union without a secret ballot election

Wants to reverse Supreme Court decision allowing temporary workers to join unions

Believes all workers, regardless of status, have a right to join a union at their workplace

Not acknowledging a wage gap between genders

Stands for Equal Pay at work– Women currently make .79 cents on the dollar for same jobs as white men

Labels Unions as “relics of the past”

Believes Unions are a critical part of America’s future

Trump is against the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Mike Pence (Republican VP nominee) is for it

Against the Trans-Pacific Partnership

The 2016 Republican platform says it aims to “challenge the anachronistic labor laws that limit workers’ freedom and lock them into the workplace rules of their great-grandfathers.” Though with these beliefs listed above, it seems the party wants to do the exact opposite.  They claim, “We intend to restore fairness and common sense to that agency.” To me a common sense policy would be if workers want to join a union, allow them to. The Republican Party does not support the Employee Free Choice Act, which simply states: if more than 50% of your store signs cards to join a union, your store becomes union. It doesn’t get fairer than that. The act removes the delayed waiting time from union elections which allow both sides, company and union to run small campaigns and drag out a process which becomes intimidating and tiresome for workers who just want better benefits, better pay and better lives. Support a candidate wants to make it easier for workers to get better pay and benefits through unionizing.

Donald Trump has captivated our nation with his outlandish and non-traditional way of speaking. Attracting millions who claim, “he tells it like it is,” Though the next time he speaks, I want you to listen for any solutions. Trump is a typical Monday-Morning Quarterback – He’s great at telling you what’s already gone wrong. He spews out hate and disrespect towards a lot of people, and he makes generalizations that just aren’t true. He isn’t providing any real solutions to any problems he brings up.


I’ll give you an example. Trump repeatedly says things of this nature, “We need to bring jobs back to America, and make more goods in America so we can make America great again.” This sounds great. But ask yourself where is Trump’s clothing line made? New York? Los Angeles? Nope. They’re all made overseas. The Donald J. Trump Collection is a line of men's dress shirts, suits, ties and accessories, all of which have been made by factories overseas, where labor costs are a fraction of what it would cost in the U.S. If Trump is so concerned about workers and so passionate about brining jobs back to America, why would he produce his entire clothing line overseas?


Trump may be saying things to attract union workers, filled with rhetoric we want to hear, but look at the labor record for Trump’s Vice President selection, Mike Pence.  


Pence, the governor of Indiana, upheld and defended the state’s right-to-work legislation in 2014. The notorious law strips power, funds and strength of the labor movement.


On Wages: Pence has been extremely vocal against raising the minimum wage. Back in 2007 as a U.S. congressman, Pence argued against raising the federal minimum wage from $5.15 (yes you read that right, $5.15) to $7.25. As The Huffington Post reported, he argued that increasing the federal minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 an hour was much too drastic. He stated, “It will harm both the wage payer and the wage earner. An excessive increase in the minimum wage will hurt the working poor.”


That wasn’t enough. Years later in 2013 he opposed a bill to raise Indiana’s state minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.25.  Governor Pence then passed legislation that prohibits local government to pass citywide minimum wage increases. This is especially harmful to workers. Many cities like Seattle, San Francisco and New York City, pass minimum wage increases at the local level where less state and federal roadblocks and politics are involved. This type of legislation has been critical in directly helping struggling men and women in cities across our country.


The latest blow to workers was in 2015 when Governor Pence repealed the state’s prevailing wage law. The prevailing wage law sets a base pay for public construction work throughout the state. Repealing the law forced construction workers to be at the whim of free-market and lower pay scales. Union leaders, construction workers, state Democrats, and even some Republicans, all rallied against Pence’s wage law repeal.

Since Trump has no political or governing background and only delivers empty rhetoric, we must look at his Mike Pence labor record for any sense of what direction we can expect his administration to run.  Instead of following through on his promises to American workers and selecting a Vice President who has demonstrated an understanding and respect for working men and women, Trump embraced a running mate who is the cornerstone of the anti-worker far-right campaign that is working to disarm the labor movement of its power.

Hillary Clinton’s record speaks for itself.  Take a look at this recent statement from Secretary Clinton, ”I’ve always believed that when unions are strong, families are strong and America is strong. That is not a slogan for me. That is a statement of fact. You created the strongest middle class in the history of the world. You led the fight for affordable health care more than half a century ago. And today, you’re leading the fight to raise the minimum wage, which will lift 35 million working Americans out of poverty.”

Hillary proudly posts he goals and vision for the labor movement and unions on the front page of her campaign website. Here are just a few: Restore collective bargaining rights for unions and defend against partisan attacks on workers’ rights. Hillary was an original co-sponsor of the Employee Free Choice Act. Hillary will fight to strengthen the labor movement and to protect worker bargaining power. She will continue to stand up against attacks on collective bargaining and work to strengthen workers’ voices. Prevent countries like China from abusing global trade rules, and reject trade agreements, like the TPP, that don’t meet high standards. Protect workers from exploitation, including employer misclassification, wage theft, and other forms of  exploitation.

When you look for Donald Trump’s goals and vision for America’s workers on his campaign site, you can’t find them. Nothing on his website is dedicated to his views on unions or labor. And when you Google “trump on workers”, you’ll find tons of horror stories and NLRB complaints and settlements Trump has paid, including a recent settlement in July to hotel employees who alleged the Trump company took actions to discourage employees from engaging in union activities.

You may have made up your mind on who you’re voting for in November. But I want you to consider these facts I have outlined. As you’re deciding ask yourself, where does your preferred candidate stand on labor? How will his or hers policies affect your job and work? When you ask these simple questions, there’s only one clear choice: Hillary Clinton. I’ll be voting for Hillary this November because she is best for our union, our future and our country.

 We will make this union a bigger and better one. I promise you that. I encourage you to follow me on twitter @Aspeel1500 and contact me for anything you may need.

Thanks again, it is truly an honor to be the seventh president of this great union.