The following is reprinted with permission from the New Hampshire Labor News.
Donald Trump bragged about his “tremendous support within unions.” “The workers love me,” he claimed.
The presumptive presidential nominee likely would be looking for love in all the wrong places if he campaigned in some deep western Kentucky union halls.
“When Donald Trump says that American workers are overpaid, obviously then he’s not in love with the union member,” said Jimmy Evans, business manager of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 816 in Paducah. “Union members don’t love him.
“He’s pro-‘right to work.’ He’s one of the biggest outsourcers of manufacturing his own apparel. My union members are not going to say they love Donald Trump.”
Dusty Owens is one of Evans’ members and he’s not a Trump lover. “If he’s for the union man, why are all his factory overseas?” asked Evans, Local 816 Political Action Committee chair.
Training director Jarrod Shadowen said if Trump dropped by Local 816’s hall, “We would probably tell him no, we don’t love him, and he can leave.”
The comments by Evans, Owens and Shadowen were echoed by several other union members at a recent meeting of the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council. The umbrella organization represents AFL-CIO-affiliated union locals in the Bluegrass State’s 13 westernmost counties.
Western Kentucky is arguably the most conservative corner of the Red State Bluegrass State, whose GOP caucus he won. Trump vowed he’s “going to get millions of people from the Democrats,” presumably union members among them.
He had nobody at the Paducah union meeting.
“We’ve never lived like he has and he’s never lived like we have,” said Howard “Bubba” Dawes, directing business representative for International Association of Machinists District Lodge 154 in Calvert City. “There’s no way we’re going to support him.”
Jim Key, vice president of Paducah United Steelworkers Local 550, doesn’t “have the time of day for Donald Trump.” Added Key: “You take a man that’s filed for bankruptcy as many times as he has, and closed down every initiative that he has started up-he’s not for the working men and women of this nation.”
Jim Rodgers, a Local 550 trustee, mused that if Trump visited his hall, “I’d have to ask him to give me a name of one of those union members who he says loves him-just one.”
Lou Nell Busby, a member of Office and Professional Employees International Union Local 277 who was visiting from Henderson, Tenn., issued a challenge to Trump. “If he can find any union women who would love him, I’d like to meet them.”
Gary McManus, council financial secretary-treasurer and retiree from Calvert City USW Local 227, was incredulous over Trump’s claim that unions love him. “He’s crazy. There’ s no way that all union people love him. There’s no way.”
Brandon Duncan of Paducah, Local 227 president, said Trump “is about division and divisiveness. “We as Americans can either head down his path, which will take us back years and years, or we can stick together and be progressive and make this country better.”
Council President Jeff Wiggins doesn’t mince words about his lack of love for The Donald. “He’s a union-busting, union-hating good-for-nothing,” said Wiggins, who is also president of USW Local 9447 in Calvert City.
Photo: Gage Skidmore/NH Labor News