Donald Trump Has Misled American Workers and We’re All Paying the Price

Donald Trump is once again making sweeping statements of success and false promises from sea to shining swing state. But the numbers—and the facts—tell a different story. Donald Trump claims he fights for working-class people and their families. He said he would protect jobs and revive dying industries. His actions have made us less safe and cost us jobs by sending innovation overseas.

He has made workers less safe. Throughout his administration, the number of OSHA inspectors has declined, which has made workplaces less safe. Where it was once difficult for regulators to effectively survey workplaces, it is now physically impossible for inspectors to even visit every site, much less conduct a thorough inspection. Technically, where staffing is now, OSHA only has enough inspectors to inspect workplaces once every 165 years.

The decline of OSHA inspections has very real consequences — particularly in the age of COVID-19. General safety issues are at risk, but while a deadly pandemic ravages the global population, safety regulations are more important than ever. However, OSHA has once again fallen short of standing up for the very people they are tasked to protect. For instance, in the meatpacking industry, one in eleven workers have contracted COVID-19, and the plants that don’t take proper safety precautions — like shutting down production when there is an outbreak — receive fines that are consistently less than what it costs to buy a used car.

Another case in point: the rollback of the Chemical Disaster Rule. This rule was created to protect workers and communities from chemical releases and explosions. After dismantling the rule completely for two years, when it was reinstated, the administration significantly weakened the rule.

This was a rule put in place for a reason. Around our country there have been fires, explosions, and chemical leaks that have killed workers and first responders. This rule was put in place because of what happened at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas (caution that video is disturbing even taken from a significant distance). Fifteen first responders gave their lives and buildings for a mile around the explosion were damaged, including a school that—thankfully and luckily—wasn’t full of kids. By rolling back the Chemical Disaster Rule, he has not only made workplaces less safe, but he has also put communities at risk.

“Donald Trump is the worst president for workers and the environment in our lifetime.”

Donald Trump has again and again touted how clean our environment is, but his actions have made our water less safe and our air more polluted. His disregard for the environment and existing protections is frightening. He chose to roll back methane standards for the oil and gas industry that were put in place to stop the unnecessary leaks and waste seen throughout the industry. Cost-effective technology can stop these leaks and methane is a very potent greenhouse gas that impacts our climate. Carcinogens — like benzene — leak with the methane and endanger workers on the job.

One of Trump’s biggest promises was that he would bring jobs to the U.S. — his actions have done the opposite. Donald Trump is proud to have rolled back regulations that would have spurred innovation and created jobs. For example, creating and installing the technologies to stop the methane leaks in oil and gas fields would have created an estimated 50,000 jobs in the next decade. When he rolled back the methane standards he rolled back those jobs as well.

With emissions standards already in place for years, the automotive industry had already begun to adapt and innovate cleaner cars, trucks, and SUVs. When he rolled back these regulations, he ensured that other countries will eclipse the U.S. in manufacturing these new technologies. The rollback will—by his own administration’s estimate—cost workers in our nation an estimated 50,000–60,000 future manufacturing jobs in the automotive industry.

Donald Trump is the worst president for workers and the environment in our lifetime. He has dismantled worker safety regulations, cut staff at the agency that is supposed to protect workers on the job, and stepped away from environmental policies that keep the nation’s air and water clean. His decisions cost the nation the jobs of the future and endangered our existing workforce — they must be reversed. If you want to learn more about how Donald Trump misled America, read our full, comprehensive report here.

Jason Walsh is the Executive Director of the BlueGreen Alliance.

As Trump Travels to Minnesota and Wisconsin to Tout Record, New Report Spotlights Trump Administration’s Attacks on Workers, the Environment, and Jobs

Ahead of President Trump’s rallies in Minnesota and Wisconsin, the BlueGreen Alliance today released Misled: The Impact of the Trump Administration’s Agenda on Working Families and the Environment, an interactive report exploring the real world impacts of the Trump administration’s actions on workers’ rights and safety, environmental protection, job creation, and pandemic response.

“This report illustrates the many ways that Donald Trump is failing American workers, endangering the environment and our communities, and putting lives at risk,” BlueGreen Alliance Executive Director Jason Walsh said. “Families and communities in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and all around our nation have suffered the consequences of the president’s decisions. This report focuses on the impacts of some of the most egregious actions by the administration on workers’ rights and safety, environmental protection, job creation, and pandemic response, as a comprehensive look at the negative impacts of this administration on the nation would fill the Library of Congress.”

The report found the Trump administration rolled back numerous policies designed to protect workers, communities, and the environment. Under the false premise that these actions would create jobs, President Trump dismantled worker safety regulations, starved the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of staff and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of power, and stepped away from environmental policies that keep the nation’s air and water clean. The report should provide workers and others with the information they need to understand the current impact of these policies and work toward changing them to protect workers and our communities.

The report further explores the impact of the Trump administration on communities of color. The group urged the Trump administration to reverse these actions.

“President Trump’s claims to be pro-worker, pro-family, and pro-environment are demonstrably false, as made clear by his actions over the course of the last three-and-a-half years,” Walsh said. “This president has put countless lives at risk in communities across the nation, he’s failed to protect workers during a massive global health crisis, he’s ceded tens of thousands of jobs to other countries, and he’s allowed for more pollution to be dumped into our air and water. It’s no wonder Trump is running around the country talking about America needing a ‘comeback,’ as every American is living with the consequences of his actions over the last three years.”

Click below to view the report.

Misled

Misled: The Impact of the Trump Administration’s Agenda on Working Families and the Environment

 This report should provide workers and others with the information they need to understand the current impact of these policies and work toward changing them to protect workers and our communities.

There is no doubt the negative impacts of this presidency on working families will be studied in great detail in the years to come. For the purposes of this report, the impacts of some of the most egregious actions on workers’ rights and safety, environmental protection, job creation, and pandemic response will be reviewed. This report sheds light on the Trump administration’s actions that have negatively impacted working families, communities, and workplaces.

Click below to view the report.

Misled

AB 841 supports high-quality jobs, helps prevent COVID-19 transmission in schools, and fights climate change

By JB Tengco, Western States Director.

California, like the rest of the nation, is facing a number of gut punches including a pandemic, systemic racism, historic wildfire season, and unemployment.This September, BlueGreen Alliance is supporting a bill in California that, while not a silver bullet for all of our ailments, aims to move the needle slightly on every one of these issues.

The Healthy Schools, Healthy Air, Healthy Recovery Bill (AB 841), authored by Assemblyman Phil Ting (AD-19), focuses on replacing critical ventilation (HVAC) and clean water infrastructure in schools, and expanding electric vehicle infrastructure. The bill achieves these objectives by authorizing a one-time re-deployment of unspent utility energy efficiency funds, and by deploying electric vehicle infrastructure more quickly.

This important bill passed the legislature and now awaits the approval of Governor Newsom. Our coalition of labor unions and environmental organizations urges him to sign AB 841 into law now. Here’s why:

1. AB 841 focuses public infrastructure and public health investments in working class communities of color.

Investments in charging infrastructure and public school HVAC and water systems can simultaneously reduce greenhouse gases, promote school health and safety, increase access to high-quality careers for workers in disadvantaged communities, focus environmental benefits in those communities, and deliver economic stimulus. This is a win for students, workers, and communities.

2. AB 841 will create good jobs replacing critical ventilation and clean water infrastructure in schools.

These are critical updates that can improve our children’s health in our schools. California public schools have a systemic problem with outdated and inefficient heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems. As we know, the vast majority of COVID-19 cases arise from indoor transmission due to inhalation of airborne particles. For this reason, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) recommends “Changes to building operations, including the operation of heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning [HVAC] systems, [to] reduce airborne exposures.”

With most California school buildings closed for the foreseeable future, we can use this time to upgrade HVAC systems to reduce disease transmission and exposure to wildfire smoke when our kids finally go back to the classroom. Importantly, these HVAC improvements will also improve poor indoor air-quality in working-class communities that are disproportionately impacted by air pollution.

In the process of improving school HVAC systems, AB 841 will generate demand for thousands of high road construction careers for California’s disadvantaged workers. AB 841 contains provisions that HVAC contractors hire a skilled workforce with apprenticeship training, which generates demand for apprenticeship graduates—70% of whom are People of Color (PoC) in the state of California—while also ensuring that unionized workers have access to jobs. Requirements for a skilled HVAC workforce also ensure high quality work performance, family-sustaining wages and benefits for workers, and safe and timely completion of state-funded projects.

While COVID-19 transmission and air pollution from wildfire smoke are of high concern right now, AB 841 also addresses another lurking public health crisis: leaky and lead-laden plumbing fixtures in California public schools. A sister program to AB 841’s HVAC improvement program draws down unspent IOU energy efficiency funds to fund school plumbing improvements. This program also benefits from good jobs requirements and priority for school districts in disadvantaged communities.

3. Signing this bill will build high-road careers by accelerating electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure and reducing pollution.

AB 841 takes on another environmental issue through significantly ramping up installation of EV charging infrastructure. The California Energy Commission estimates we will be short 80,000 chargers, or roughly one third of our 250,000 public EV charging station goal, by 2025. AB 841 would address this issue head-on by streamlining the state’s process of approving EV infrastructure projects (currently conducted on a case-by-case basis), thus accelerating EV charging installations considerably.

This bill grows good jobs through requiring California’s charging infrastructure be installed b workers who have receive a nationally recognized certification jointly developed by industry, government, and workers. Workforce training requirements also create opportunities for workers of color in the state’s growing apprenticeship system.

4. We’ll all benefit from AB 841.

These benefits have led AB 841 to be supported by schools and teachers, public health experts, labor groups, businesses, and environmental organizations. All supporters, including the BlueGreen Alliance, agree that lawmakers have acted to take advantage of this rare and limited window to improve the health and safety of schools, address climate change and create good jobs—right now.

Now, it is up to Governor Newsom to sign this bill into law and put Californians to work building a safer, sustainable future.

2020 Polling Memo: Swing State Voters on Responsible COVID-19 Relief

The poll explored voters’ perspectives regarding conditional financial relief to the auto industry and found strong support for requiring company guarantees to retain domestic jobs and manufacturing, and to invest in building the cleaner, more fuel-efficient vehicles of the future.

From May 11-19, Matt George Associates conducted an online survey for the BlueGreen Alliance of 1,000 likely voters in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, and North Carolina—key swing states for the upcoming presidential election. The sample demographics closely mirrored each state’s 2016 voting records. All of the respondents were registered voters and identified as “absolutely certain” that they will vote in the November 2020 election. This, along with an additional six rigorous screening criteria predicted the likelihood of a respondent to vote with a relatively high degree of certainty. Conducted after the first round of COVID-19 relief was enacted, the poll explored likely voters’ reactions to emergency financial assistance provided as a response to the COVID-19 crisis.

The public opinion poll shows that voters clearly support economic relief during an unprecedented pandemic—especially for individuals and small businesses—but where relief is considered for large corporations, they want it structured the right way—with accountability measures in place.

Click the link below to download the polling memo.

Rebuilding American Manufacturing Virtual Town Hall

The BlueGreen Alliance and national labor, environmental, and public officials joined U.S. Sen. Tina Smith for a virtual town hall focused on the BlueGreen Alliance’s manufacturing agenda and the actions we need to take now to rebuild American manufacturing and good jobs in communities across the nation.

Speakers included:

  • U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-MN)
  • United Steelworkers International President Tom Conway
  • Natural Resources Defense Council President and CEO Gina McCarthy
  • BlueGreen Alliance Executive Director Jason Walsh
  • And other voices from the front lines of American manufacturing in the steel, paper, transportation manufacturing sectors.

Watch the video below:

Labor, Environmental Leaders Release Blueprint to Rebuild and Retool American Manufacturing and Aid America’s Economic Recovery

The agenda, available online here, provides policymakers with a roadmap to make America a leader in clean technology manufacturing and strengthen and transform the nation’s industrial base to make it the cleanest and most advanced in the world.

The blueprint builds on the group’s Solidarity for Climate Action platform, which provides solutions to address the simultaneous crises of climate change and economic and racial injustice. The group said a bold and proactive manufacturing agenda is key to economic recovery, growing opportunity and prosperity, and reducing the emissions driving climate change.

“The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted how important manufacturing is to our nation and how much the loss of manufacturing jobs has hurt our ability to be self-reliant,” said United Steelworkers International President Tom Conway. “American leadership in inventing—and manufacturing—the most advanced technology of all kinds was once a cornerstone of a strong and growing middle class and a pathway for many out of poverty. We cannot cede American manufacturing jobs to our global competitors or leave our economy and communities vulnerable because we failed to be forward-thinking about boosting the sector for the short and long term.”

“Action to revitalize and grow clean, family-sustaining American manufacturing jobs must be a central part of our work to tackle environmental injustice,” said Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune. “We cannot ignore the fact that the roots of the climate crisis lie in racism, land-theft, colonialism, and patriarchy. By ensuring cleaner manufacturing, we can create new opportunities for workers in low-income communities, communities of color, and deindustrialized communities in need of economic revitalization, while reducing the pollution that disproportionately affects those same communities.”

The group expects the manufacturing discussion to continue as the presidential campaign heats up. A recent poll by the BlueGreen Alliance showed that economic recovery was the top priority for white, working-class voters in five key Midwestern swing states. The poll found manufacturing jobs and clean energy jobs were listed by the participants as two of the most critical components of economic recovery and rebuilding the economy. In addition, 99% of the respondents said they were in favor of investing in manufacturing medical supplies and critical technologies here in America.

The plan includes five pillars: investing at scale in a new generation of American manufacturing; innovating to transform industry; responsibly mining, reclaiming, and recycling critical materials; using public investments wisely to build a strong, clean, and fair manufacturing economy; and changing the rules to build a clean economy that works for all. Under each of those pillars are specific policies to achieve them and the overall goal of rebuilding and retooling America’s manufacturing sector.

“Our economy is broken. Too many communities and workers have been devastated by the bleeding of manufacturing jobs to other nations over the past few decades and we need immediate action from policymakers to reverse that trend,” said BlueGreen Alliance Executive Director Jason Walsh. “This is a positive, comprehensive agenda for policymakers to do the job done right. We can lead the world in making clean products, while also making these products in a clean, and just way.”

“It’s time for our leaders to stop blustering about jobs in the United States and instead take the actions necessary to lead in clean technology manufacturing, invest in transforming American industry, and secure and grow real jobs in communities across America,” Walsh added.

Click here to download the Executive Summary separately. 

Click the link below to view the full document.

BlueGreen Alliance Applauds House Democrats for New Effort to Spur Economic Recovery with Infrastructure and Manufacturing Focus

After the announcement, the BlueGreen Alliance released the following statement from Executive Director Jason Walsh.

“America is falling apart. We have millions of workers without jobs due to Covid-19, rampant and systematic racism that pervades our society, gaps in our manufacturing base that leave our citizens and economy vulnerable, and the infrastructure systems we rely on every day—for clean water, to get from place to place, to educate our children, to heat and power our homes and businesses, and to communicate with each other—have been neglected for a generation and are crumbling and dangerous.

“Today, Speaker Pelosi and leaders in the House have released a path forward that can put people back to work repairing and modernizing our infrastructure to be cleaner and more resilient, rebuild manufacturing and manufacturing jobs, and enhance justice and equity to our society by prioritizing investments in communities that need it most—including low-income communities, communities of color, and deindustrialized communities in need of economic revitalization.”

“We haven’t evaluated the full bill, but this proposal is a stark contrast to the inaction from Senate Majority Leader McConnell and Republicans in the Senate, like we have seen with other legislation to protect workers and provide needed relief previously passed by the House. They too must act because we cannot afford to wait a minute longer to get America on a path to recovery.”

Trump’s Action on Clean Cars Standards Makes Things Worse for American Manufacturing and Workers

The BlueGreen Alliance released the following statement from Director of Vehicles and Advanced Transportation Zoe Lipman in response to the expected announcement:

“The administration is adding insult to injury for American workers by moving forward to gut standards that have consistently strengthened manufacturing and job growth across the nation. The Trump administration needs to do more to protect American workers today—not take action to send good-paying-jobs overseas building the cars of tomorrow. President Trump should withdraw this action on the rule immediately.”

The Impacts of Fuel Economy and Vehicle GHG Standards on Innovation, Investment, American Manufacturing, and Jobs

The BlueGreen Alliance produced a detailed analysis of the impacts the soon-to-be finalized proposal from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to rollback clean car standards will have on domestic innovation, technology deployment, manufacturing, and jobs. Released in August 2019, Tech@Risk provided a detailed snapshot of today’s vehicle technology manufacturing jobs, and estimated the impact on future jobs and job growth in the industry if standards are weakened. The report identified significant negative impacts from the EPA’s proposed rule. Specifically the report found:

  • At least 89,000 future jobs could be lost or foregone as a result of the rollback.
  • The threat appears particularly acute for those that make the most advanced technologies and materials, but a rollback threatens jobs and investment across the industry.
  • Deeply weakening the standards significantly slows adoption of advanced technologies in almost every vehicle subsystem and cuts demand for products made by hundreds of manufacturers and hundreds of thousands of workers all across the country

The BlueGreen Alliance’s analysis is consistent with data from the agencies themselves in their Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that found rolling back standards would cut industry investment in vehicle components and technology by around $30 billion per year and result in 50,000-60,000 fewer manufacturing jobs in the industry.

Additional BlueGreen Alliance research explored the impact of strong clean vehicle standards on investment by automakers in the United States since 2008. Driving Investment: How Fuel Efficiency is Rebuilding American Manufacturing tracked investment in the nation’s automotive plants over the past decade as automakers implemented current fuel economy standards. The report illustrated how standards drive enhanced manufacturing activity, and showed how what are often described as the “costs” of compliance with clean vehicle standards represent a multi-billion dollar reinvestment in American manufacturing and jobs nationwide. Specifically the report found:

  • A total of $76 billion in new and promised investment in the nation’s automotive plants since 2008.
  • As of 2018, U.S. automakers had invested $64 billion in facilities across the country, completing 258 investments at 100 factories, with an additional $12 billion in investments in 37 facilities underway or promised. 

While some of that $76 billion represents business-as-usual investment, a significant portion is new, added, or enhanced investment in the innovative products and manufacturing processes developed to meet the nation’s commonsense fuel economy and greenhouse gas standards. View a visualization of those investments here

Driving Investment builds on a May 2017 report, Supplying Ingenuity II: U.S. Suppliers of Key Clean Fuel-Efficient Vehicle Technologies, from the BlueGreen Alliance and Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), which detailed the breadth of U.S. manufacturing engagement in building cleaner cars. The report illustrated how, when the auto industry emerged from the last recession, strong standards—together with policies that encouraged retooling factories to build a new generation of efficient cars, SUVs, and trucks in the United States—helped rebuild a stronger industry, secure jobs, and secure a return on taxpayer investments. The report found:

  • Following the last recession the auto industry brought back jobs and saw a dramatic return to profitability and record sales, while also successfully implementing the current national fuel economy and greenhouse gas standards across all types and sizes of vehicles.
  • More than 288,000 workers in 1,200 factories and engineering facilities in 48 states are building the components, materials, and technology needed to make today’s vehicles more fuel efficient than ever.
  • Greatly weakening the standards risks shipping investment in the next generation of technology overseas and puts manufacturing and jobs in the industry in danger.

You can explore automotive manufacturing in America by component and technology using our interactive map, and see the economic reach of enhanced investment in a new generation of cleaner, more fuel-efficient vehicles.

BlueGreen Alliance Discussion on Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s proposed rule to adopt California emissions standards

We stand at a crossroads for manufacturing and the middle class. Manufacturers in the U.S. have risen to the challenge of building the next generation of advanced vehicles, and currently many of the market-leading EVs are assembled here in the U.S., creating high-skill, high-wage, family-sustaining jobs. But this global leadership is not assured for the future. Our competitors in Europe and Asia are making deep investments in EV manufacturing and putting into place policies to drive their own manufacturing and technology leadership in advanced vehicles. Without action, we will fall behind the rest of the world. So the question is not about car standards for California or Minnesota, it is about whether we are moving forward or moving backward. The federal government is taking our fuel economy standards backwards, and without action it will take us with them, along with all of the businesses and workers in the advanced vehicle industry.

The GM Strike and the Future of American Manufacturing

Striking UAW Workers

Under the contract, the company reduced the number of plants it had slated to close, and committed to $6 billion in specific domestic manufacturing investments—including the assembly of new electric vehicles and technology in U.S. plants. The strikers didn’t win every battle, but they came away with a contract that makes bread and butter gains for tens of thousands of workers.

But this strike was about more than just this contract—it was about the future of American manufacturing and jobs. With this strike, the GM workers made it clear that our nation is reaching a breaking point. American workers cannot stand by and watch the jobs making the technology of the future lost, worsened, or shipped overseas. For too long, announcements about investments in emerging technology “worldwide” have meant plant closures at home, and American innovation has gone hand in hand with offshoring, outsourcing, and gains not shared by working people.

Now, UAW members have demonstrated the critical importance of workers standing together to ensure that the United States leads in the clean economy of the future and that American manufacturing once again provides high-quality good-paying jobs. The heart of this strike extends far beyond cars, trucks, and SUVs. The striking workers stood up for a better future for all working people.

This is why in our platform Solidarity for Climate Action, the BlueGreen Alliance and all of our labor and environmental partners call for expanding workers rights and increasing union density. Union representation is one of the most important factors in ensuring both that the innovative technologies and solutions developed to fight climate change and build a more sustainable future are produced right here in the United States and that the jobs created making those technologies present the path out of poverty and economic insecurity that so many families and communities need. We cannot grow our middle class and rebuild prosperity in our nation if we fall behind the rest of the world in building the technologies of the future or if working people don’t see the gains from American innovation and change.

With their action, autoworkers joined workers across the spectrum—from teachers to hotel workers to workers in the manufacturing sector—who aren’t sitting on the sidelines. They’re acting now to address the urgent economic and climate challenges we face. We stand with them and we urge our elected leaders to do likewise.

Congress has the opportunity to stand with American workers and enact policies that would spur the manufacturing of electric vehicles and other clean energy technologies in America, and measures like the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act that would strengthen workers’ ability to organize, bargain, and have an effective voice in the workplace. Working together we can lead in the clean economy and create good, family-sustaining jobs across the United States.