Labor Rights - Hard Hats for America


Donald Trump promised to improve the lives of working Americans. He didn’t.

A man’s word should be his bond, but President Trump has broken the promise he made in the last election to improve the lives of working Americans.

Over the past four years, President Trump and the radicals on his staff have attacked labor rights and declared War on the Middle Class.

Trump has appointed radicals to Federal Agencies that are supposed to protect workers.  Instead, they have done the opposite. The Trump Administration’s record on labor is one of bad faith and broken promises – especially for labor rights. They’ve cut overtime pay; reduced enforcement of worker health and safety standards; and overturned a number of basic union labor rights.

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is supposed to be the federal agency that enforces the law giving employees the right to act together and form unions to improve their pay and working conditions, but Trump’s radical NLRB appointees have turned the law on its head to take away rights from workers.

  • On May 27, 2020, the General Counsel for Trump’s NLRB filed a complaint against building trades unions seeking to make routine project labor agreements in the construction industry illegal. [1]
  • On December 12, 2019, Trump’s NLRB threw out decades of precedent and ruled that employers can ban employees from wearing union buttons or stickers. [2]
  • On August 23, 2019, Trump’s NLRB reversed precedent to deny off-duty employees access to job sites. [3]
  • On June 24, 2019, Trump’s NLRB reversed precedent and ruled that an employer with property open to the public can nevertheless selectively deny union organizers access to the property. [4]
  • On September 6, 2019, the NLRB reversed precedent and made it much easier for employers to discriminate against unions when denying access to property. [5]
  • On April 1, 2020, Trump’s NLRB issued a rule overturning long-standing law to make it easier for contractors to refuse to bargain with unions. [6]

On February 5, 2020, Trump pledged to veto important bipartisan labor protection legislation — the Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act), signaling that he favors big corporations and anti-union radicals in his Administration. After he made this anti-union pledge, he was endorsed by anti-union groups, including the Associated Builders and Contractors, that are opposed to unionized construction work and the long-established rights of American workers. [7]

The Department of Labor’s (DOL) mission is to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States, but Trump’s radical, anti-union appointees to DOL have instead cut wages and protections for millions of American workers.

  • On September 27, 2019, Trump’s DOL changed a 2016 rule that would have made millions more workers eligible for overtime pay. As a result, Trump’s DOL denied 8.2 million workers overtime, and turned its back on “millions of workers including 4.2 million women, 2.9 million people of color, 4.6 million workers without a college degree, and 2.7 million parents of children under the age of 18.” [8]
  • On September 22, 2020, Trump’s DOL proposed a rule to make it easier to classify workers as independent contractors and thereby strip overtime pay and other important labor protections from those workers. The rule will make it harder for contractors that treat their employees right to compete with low-road fly-by-night contractors that compete by cheating. [9]
  • In 2017, Trump’s Special Assistant for Domestic Policy circulated a plan to have DOL change its calculation of prevailing wage rates for federal projects under the Davis-Bacon Act. [10] The change would cut the wages for millions of hard working construction workers upon Trump’s re-election. [11]

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is the federal agency within DOL responsible for ensuring safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting national protective workplace standards.  Trump’s radical appointees to OSHA and DOL have repeatedly undermined and failed this mission, putting millions of American workers at risk at construction sites and other places of work.

  • Trump’s OSHA has not issued an emergency standard to protect workers from COVID-19, claiming that it isn’t necessary. [12]
  • Trump’s OSHA has not enforced existing protective workplace standards and has significantly rolled back health and safety inspections. [13]
  • On February 25, 2019, Trump’s OSHA overturned a rule that would have required employers to make public, information about workplace injuries. As a result, OSHA has made it easier for employers to hide workplace injuries and potentially life-threatening working conditions. [14]
  • For over three and a half years, Trump’s OSHA refused to enforce important standard provisions that protect construction workers from exposure that can result in serious beryllium-related diseases. OSHA originally issued the standard in January 2017, but until September 2020, Trump’s OSHA delayed the requirement for employers to take steps that OSHA itself says are critical to protecting construction workers from chronic beryllium disease and lung cancer. [15]  There was the initial rule in January 2017, the first delay in June 2017, the second delay in September 2019, and OSHA’s decision to finally start enforcing the protections beginning September 30, 2020. [16]

If Donald Trump’s radical appointees to federal agencies aren’t bad enough, he has packed the federal courts with anti-union judges, whose decisions are overruling decades of hard-earned workers’ rights.

  • When the Supreme ruled against workers in Janus v AFSCME, the deciding vote was cast by a Trump appointee. [17]
  • By the end of October 2020, Trump will almost certainly have appointed one-third of the Justices on the U.S. Supreme Court; 30% of all U.S. Court of Appeals judges; and 26% of U.S. District Court (trial court) judges on the court today. [18]
  • Trump’s appointees have already tipped the balance of the courts, and will continue to shift power back to the big corporations, while continuing to undermine workers’ rights.
  • Every decision by Trump’s NLRB, DOL, and OSHA is subject to review in federal court, and many courts are dominated by Trump’s anti-union appointees.
  • Federal judges serve lifetime appointments, and some have served more than 50 years. [19]
  • For more information on the anti-worker bias of Trump court appointee, there are numerous sources to consult, including. [20]

Four years of broken promises.  Anti-union radicals dominating every department and agency meant to protect America’s workers.  Anti-union judges filling the federal courts.  Millions of hard working men and women deprived of their rights and put at risk on the job.

It is a War on the Middle Class.  And we’ve had it.

Check the Facts:

[1] National Labor Relations Board, “Case Search Results: United Association of Plumbers & Pipefitters, Local 32 (Graham Contracting, Ltd.), Case Number: 19-CE-234627,”

[2] National Labor Relations Board, “Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. and the Organization United for Respect at Walmart (our Walmart),” 368 NLRB No. 146,

[3] National Labor Relations Board, “Bexar County Performing Art Center Foundation d/b/a Tobin Center for the Performing Arts and Local 23, American Federation of Musicians,” 368 NLRB No. 46,

[4] National Labor Relations Board, “UPMC and its Subsidiary, UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside, single employer d/b/a UPMC Presbyterian Hospital and d/b/a UPMC Shadyside Hospital and SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania CTW, CLC,” 368 NLRB No. 2,

[5] National Labor Relations Board, “Kroger Limited Partnership I Mid-Altantic and United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 400,” 368 NLRB No. 64,

[6] Federal Register, “Representation-Case Procedures: Election Bars; Proof of Majority Support in Construction-Industry Collective-Bargaining Relationships,” Doc. Citation: 85 FR 18366,

[7] Executive Office of the President, Office of Management and Budget, “Statement of Administration Policy: H.R. 2474—Protecting the Right to Organize Act,”; Associated Builders and Contractors, “News Releases: ABC Endorses President Trump for Reelection,”

[8] Economic Policy Institute, “The Trump administration’s overtime rule leaves millions of workers behind,”; Federal Register, “Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division, 29 CFR Part 541,” Vol. 84, No. 188, 51230,

[9] Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division, “Independent Contractor Status under the Fair Labor Standards Act,” 29 CFR Parts 780, 788, 795, RIN 1235-AA34,

[10] Special Assistant for Domestic Policy, “Proposed Labor Reforms,”; Politico, “White House memo details divide-and-conquer labor strategy,”

[11] Illinois Economic Policy Institute, “A New Bill to Use BLS Data for Davis-Bacon Prevailing Wage Would Be a Pay Cut for Middle-Class Construction Workers,”

[12] The Regulatory Review, “A Failure of Administrative Law in OSHA During the Pandemic,”

[13] Vox, “Fewer inspectors, more deaths: The Trump administration rolls back workplace safety inspections,”

[14] Federal Register, “Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses,” Doc. Citation: 84 FR 380,

[15] United States Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration, “Beryllium,”

[16] Federal Register, “Occupational Exposure to Beryllium,” Doc. Citation: 82 FR 2470,; Federal Register, “Occupational Exposure to Beryllium and Beryllium Compounds in Construction and Shipyard Sectors,” Doc. Citation: 82 FR 29182,; Federal Register, “Occupational Exposure to Beryllium and Beryllium Compounds in Construction and Shipyard Sectors,” Doc. Citation: 84 FR 51377,; Federal Register, “Occupational Exposure to Beryllium and Beryllium Compounds in Construction and Shipyard Sectors,” Doc. Citation: 85 FR 53910,

[17] Supreme Court of the United States, “Syllabus: JANUS v. AMERICAN FEDERATION OF STATE, COUNTY, AND MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEES, COUNCIL 31, et. al.”

[18] Federal Judicial Center, “Biographical Directory of Article III Federal Judges, 1789-present,”

[19] Wikipedia, “List of United States federal judges by longevity of service,”

[20] Supreme Court of the United States, “Syllabus: EPIC SYSTEMS CORP. v. LEWIS,”; Georgetown University Law Center, “All Balls and No Strikes: The Roberts Court’s Anti-Worker Activism,”