When President Donald Trump faced the North America Building Trades Union (NABTU) conference in Washington, D.C., the wealthy former businessman offered a simple assurance that spoke volumes to the Union bricklayers, pipefitters, plumbers, carpenters, and electricians of America.
“Now, you have a builder as President,” Mr. Trump said to cheers and applause earlier this month.
The event felt like a homecoming of sorts for a President who campaigned on a resume of harnessing labor’s manpower to pepper the New York City skyline with glimmering skyscrapers. The support from union members helped propel him to the presidency, and he ultimately won a surprising 43 percent of union households, according to exit polls.
Mr. Trump’s warm reception at the builders conference underscored yet another strange political reality taking shape under the new president: organized labor, traditionally supporters of Democrats up and down the ticket, now finds itself in a delicate dance with a Republican White House.
“Membership recognizes that, historically, Democrats have been better than Republicans for the long range economic interests of our members, but funny things have happened over the last ten to twelve years,” NABTU president Sean McGarvey told CBS News. “Democrats don’t quite value the construction workforce as much as they used to, in the membership view.”
This past week, Mr. Trump introduced two additional provisions to boost American manufacturing and labor. One was his “Buy American and Hire American” executive order. The other was a memo commencing an investigation into unfair steel trade practices and the…
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