Protecting the rights of the most vulnerable workers is about to get significantly harder—and that’s bad for all workers.
By Terri Gerstein, The NationApril 24, 2017
Alexander Acosta seems well on his way to confirmation as secretary of labor, with a Senate vote likely to occur in the coming weeks. Although he’s less cartoonishly ill-suited for the position than many of Trump’s cabinet picks, it’s nearly inconceivable that Acosta will emerge as a strong advocate for working people, given his history and confirmation hearing testimony. He showed little discomfort with Trump’s pro-business, antiregulatory agenda, dodged a number of key questions, and stated, “We all work for the president and we all will ultimately follow his direction.”
Frances Perkins, he’s not.
With flaccid and ineffectual enforcement at the federal level, it will fall increasingly to state and city agencies to be the primary enforcers of the labor laws. Filling the federal vacuum will be difficult enough, but the Trump administration has not merely exited the stage. Instead, Trump’s actions in what may seem to be another arena—specifically, his attacks on immigrants—have made it infinitely harder for states and localities to protect workers’ rights.[...]
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