More Trump Foolishness: Trump Reaches Out to AFL-CIO for NAFTA Talks

Trump ignored business leaders and instead reached out to the AFL-CIO for advice on NAFTA and his infrastructure package

President Donald Trump sought input Wednesday from the largest labor unions in the U.S. on trade policy, including the talks to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Mr. Trump met at the White House with Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO labor federation, and the presidents of the Teamsters, the United Auto Workers, the United Steelworkers, the Communications Workers of America and the International Association of Machinists.

The union leaders described the meeting as “very productive,” in a joint statement. “Labor is united in its view that NAFTA is a disaster for working people and must be fixed,” the statement said. “Real solutions for any new trade deal must dramatically improve workers’ rights and raise wages and living standards in all three countries.”

Mr. Trump has said he would walk away from trade deals, including NAFTA, that didn’t benefit American workers.

Labor unions traditionally support Democratic politicians, and Mr. Trumka has leveled sharp criticism at the Republican president in the past year. But the White House has sought to win labor-union support on other priorities, including a legislative package on infrastructure.

More Trump Foolishness

I suppose this could be a ploy, but recent Trump tariff actions suggest this is more Trump trade foolishness guaranteed to backfire.

Instead of inviting the AFL-CIO, Trump should listen to Rand Paul regarding right-to-work.

The country does not need more unions. It desperately needs to get rid of public unions. The place to start would be national right-to-work laws, coupled with an end of Davis Bacon and all prevailing wage laws.

Make Deficits Great Again

Getting the AFL-CIO backing for infrastructure is a guaranteed way to have projects cost more and take longer to deliver, at taxpayer expense.

Trump does not understand trade deficits. The "art of the deal" cannot work when you don't understand essential points.

To understand the math, please see Trump's Tariffs Show He's "Clueless About Trade".

The US is on a path to economic ruin, and Trump refuses to change course.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (19)
No. 1-19

I don't trust Trump but it is ridiculous to blame the unions which have been declining all these decades. There is a direct correlation and cause-effect relationship between union membership and shared prosperity.


Try find a similar period graph, plotting the share of the population (or labor force) that is a member of a public sector union. Or better yet, the share of total labor compensation (including benefits) going to public unionistas. Those are the unions Mish, and most other current “union critics” rail against.

As our graph demonstrates, unions in the private sector hasn’t been a significant force for a long time. And neither do they operate under some a priori assumption that the government should force other people’s children into labor camps, to pay for “promises” made before said children were even born.


Meh, Donny isn’t doing anything Nixon wouldn’t do. Nor FDR, for that matter.


Prevailing Wage laws will suck out any economic benefit derived from .gov boondoggle infrastructure schemes. Just another wealth transfer from taxpayers to “Friends” of government.