President Donald Trump met with labor union leaders Monday, a gesture that was received favorably by those in attendance.
The President opened up the meeting by announcing the executive order that he had signed just hours earlier. “We have officially terminated the TPP,” Trump said to a loud chorus of applause from the labor bosses in attendance, according to pool reports. Trump made good on his campaign promise to immediately scrap the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
The President told the group, which included groups that represent carpenters, construction, welders, and pipe fitters, that he would hire American workers to rebuild the country’s infrastructure, according to Sean McGarvey, president of North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU).
The meeting surprised many of the union bosses, many of whom said they were never invited to the White House by former President Barack Obama. “Never in eight years,” Tom Owens, a spokesman for the NABTU, a powerful arm of the AFL-CIO, told the Huffington Post.
The members were excited by the President’s plan to invest one trillion dollars on America’s infrastructure using American steel and hiring American workers.
Big labor bosses, including the AFL-CIO’s Richard Trumka, not only supported failed candidate Hillary Clinton, but also attacked President Trump’s character. (RELATED: Big Labor Bosses Ignore Member Support For Trump; Endorse Clinton)
“He thinks he’s a tough guy. Well, Donald, I worked in the mines with tough guys, I know tough guys. They’re friends of mine, and Donald, you’re no tough guy; you’re a phony,” Trumka said this past summer at the Democratic National Convention.
The meeting Monday is setting off alarm bells inside big labor headquarters across the country, as members become energized by Trump’s commitment to American jobs. The President invited a dozen top labor bosses, including a few who were openly critical of him during the campaign.
Laborers’ International Union of North America President Terry O’Sullivan, SMART sheet metal workers’ union President Joseph Sellers, United Brotherhood of Carpenters President Doug McCarron and Mark McManus, president of the United Association that represents plumbers, pipefitters, welders participated in the meeting, according to Reuters via the White House.
A CNN exit poll following the 2016 Presidential Election revealed that Trump carried 42 percent of voters in union household, compared to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s 51 percent.
President Trump’s victory came in large part due to a message that appealed to blue collar households in America’s rust belt.
Time will tell if President Trump’s strategy will lead to significant inroads with labor for the Republican party.
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