It looks like the coalition between manufacturing unions and Democrats is about to get crushed underfoot. Dennis Williams, the president of the United Auto Workers, has asked to meet with Donald Trump to map out a plan to overturn or renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement – NAFTA.
It was union members who gave Donald Trump the margin of victory in Midwest Democratic states and Trump’s comments about free trade agreements likely had a lot to do with that.
Williams said free-trade policies “in many cases have destroyed lives and destroyed the middle class.” He wholeheartedly endorsed Trump’s proposed 35% tariff on cars imported from Mexico.
This is a dramatic change of face for the powerful UAW. They strongly backed Barack Obama in 2008 2012 and endorsed the Clinton this year. A UAW Paul just before the election showed that almost 30% of the union’s members back Trump. I think it was more likely 50% and they certainly provided the margin of victory in Michigan.
Throughout the campaign Trump appealed to the UAW’s core membership – working-class voters without college degrees – by blasting NAFTA’s role in moving manufacturing jobs primarily to Mexico.
Sitting across the table from Trump in the UAW will be General Motors and Ford who are building plants in Mexico. Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford Jr. said he wanted to wait and see the details of any proposals before speaking out on the matter.
The UAW president made it clear that they weren’t backing down on their support of Democrats and social issues. That’s the line from the leadership, and you can bet that UAW workers dues are still going to be going to Democratic candidates, but it looks like UAW votes may be up for grabs and in a tight election that’s what matters.
Why are union members voting for Donald Trump? Because the rank-and-file figured out that Trump actually cares about them and their families while Democrats only care about their money and their votes.
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