Trump is failing to bring back American jobs

Trump is failing to bring back American jobs
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Ahead of the 2018 midterm elections, President Donald Trump is campaigning in battleground states with a new slogan: Promises Made, Promises Kept.” 

But Trump’s message isn’t ringing true with working-class voters like Renee Elliott, a Democrat who cast her ballot for Trump in 2016.  Elliott - who lost her job at the Carrier plant in Indianapolis after Trump promised to save it from being outsourced Mexico - thinks Trump’s slogan should be the opposite - “Promises made, none of them kept.”

Trump won the White House by selling himself to voters like Elliott and vowing to deliver “more jobs and better wages” by bringing jobs back to the U.S. Trump’s pro-worker message helped him score upset victories in Democratic strongholds that have been hard-hit by outsourcing and the disappearance of good union jobs.

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But 18 months into his term, Trump has betrayed his promises to the working-class voters like Elliott who helped him to the Oval Office.

Despite boasting that he would punish corporate offshorers, a new research report from Good Jobs Nation - Broken Promises #2 - shows that President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Republican threatens to push for Rosenstein impeachment unless he testifies Judge suggests Trump’s tweet about Stormy Daniels was ‘hyperbole’ not defamation Rosenstein faces Trump showdown MORE is actually using the executive power of the presidency to incentivize corporations to ship good jobs overseas in record numbers.

Our study reveals that the Trump administration has awarded more than $50 billion in new federal contracts to companies that continue to shutter U.S. factories as they seek cheaper labor abroad.   

As a result, top federal contractors - Carrier’s parent company United Technologies, General Motors, Honeywell and Siemens - are now offshoring jobs at the fastest rate since the Great Recession. In fact, annual offshoring by taxpayer-funded corporations under Trump is on track to be three times greater than under the Obama and Bush administrations.

Overall, more than 133,000 Americans have received pink slips since Trump took office.

President Trump has the power to stop giving taxpayer dollars to companies that outsource jobs.  However, even though he’s signed more than 100 executive orders and memoranda, he has yet to sign a single one that delivers on his promise to “create more jobs” by stopping offshoring.

For working-class voters who supported Trump, his inaction is political hypocrisy.

According to a Pew Research Panel survey of validated voters taken three times in 2016 and again in 2018, 62 percent of Trump voters still felt very warm views toward him. At the same time, there are a significant number of voters who hold a negative view of the president, and that number has grown since his election.

Take Randall Troyer of Elkhart, Indiana, who voted for Trump because he said he would keep companies like his employer, CTS Corp, from sending his job to overseas. Unfortunately, in a few weeks, CTS will be closing down its Elkhart plant and sending Troyer’s job, along with others, to Mexico. And President Trump has done nothing, even though CTS was just awarded a federal contract.

“I voted for Donald Trump because he promised to save jobs.  But my plant is moving to Mexico and he hasn’t stopped it,” Troyer said. “I’m 62 and worried about retirement.  Who’s going to hire me at this age?”

Dave Green, in Trumbull County, Ohio feels the same way. He’s the local union president at the General Motors plant in Lordstown, Ohio, which went from 5,000 workers down to 1,500 in a series of recent layoffs. General Motors, which received $600 million in federal contracts from the Trump administration, announced the second layoff at the Lordstown plant earlier this summer -- on the same day, the company also announced plans to build the Chevy Blazer in Mexico.

“When Trump campaigned here, he told us hold on to your homes because the ‘jobs are coming back.’   But the reality is that people keep getting pink slips, and now hundreds of my members have put their homes up for sale to look for jobs elsewhere,” Green said.

Trumbull County is  a “pivot county” - a place that voted for President Obama twice before turning to Trump.

Trump’s track record on offshoring is his Achilles heel. If Democrats want places like Trumbull County, and voters like Troyer and Elliott to pivot back in the upcoming midterms, they’re going to have to show working-class voters that they will use the full power of our government to ensure American corporations keep good jobs right here in America. 

It’s clear that working-class voters aren’t buying Trump’s “Promises Kept” slogan. It’s up to the Democrats to declare that they stand ready to pick up where Trump has failed to deliver.       

Joseph Geevarghese is an attorney and executive director of Good Jobs Nation, a worker advocacy organization that is part of the Change to Win labor coalition, which is comprised of various unions including SEIU.