While he tussles with Obama on trade, Trumka simultaneously praises and mocks the Republican candidates for discussing income inequality. “I like the fact that they’re adopting our language and recognizing that inequality is a problem and that falling wages are a problem, even though their policies are what got us here and even though the policies they’re pushing will make things worse,” he said.During the mid-terms, Republican candidates began trying out some language meant to cast themselves as the party most concerned with income inequality in contrast to an elitist Democratic party run from Wall Street. If Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee, this message (however hypocritical) will certainly connect with many voters.
In a wide-ranging interview, Trumka praised Hillary Clinton, now the official presidential frontrunner for the Democratic party. Nonetheless, Trumka – who has headed the 56-union federation since 2009 – said labor would press her, like every other candidate, to spell out how she would raise wages for America’s badly squeezed workers.
“I find Hillary a wonderful, independent woman who is very, very smart,” Trumka said. Then in an unmistakable effort to nudge her to the left, he added: “There are people like that I wouldn’t necessarily vote for if their policies are bad. It’s about policy. It’s about what are you going to do to raise wages. It’s about what are you going to do to change the rules to help everybody and not just those at the top.”
Meanwhile tomorrow is Fight For $15 Day. Might be a good time to go out and count the number Republicans out agitating for actual working people. Because when they start to co-opt the rhetoric next year, it will be helpful to remember when they weren't backing it up.