AFL-CIO president: Trump considers workers 'expendable'

AFL-CIO president: Trump considers workers 'expendable'
© Greg Nash

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said in an interview with The Hill’s Steve Clemons on Thursday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpFormer employees critique EPA under Trump in new report Fired State Department watchdog says Pompeo aide attempted to 'bully' him over investigations Virginia senator calls for Barr to resign over order to clear protests MORE has “considered workers expendable” in efforts to reopen economies and workplaces.

“In his bum’s rush to get everybody back to work, he’s considered workers expendable,” Trumka said during The Hill's Advancing America's Economy virtual event, adding that the president “didn’t do a very good job when we asked him to help workers get personal protective equipment.”

“In this whole thing, I’d say while he’s looked very strongly at getting the economy back, that’s been his whole focus, and he’s been willing to sacrifice workers and make us expendable in the process,” Trumka added.

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Trumka also said the AFL-CIO backs the House-passed HEROES Act, which Senate Republicans have said has no chance of passage in the upper chamber. Trumka highlighted the “much-needed income and help” the coronavirus relief measure would provide to state and local governments, as well as steps to stabilize worker pensions.

“Our pension system was in a crisis before the pandemic, the pandemic worsened it,” he said.

However, Trumka noted that neither the HEROES Act nor the earlier CARES Act “is really a stimulus bill, they’re intermediate steps to stop the hemorrhaging” caused by the pandemic.

“We will need a much-needed stimulus bill with infrastructure after this is over,” he said.

Trumka also blasted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate passes bill to give flexibility for small business coronavirus aid program On The Money: GOP turning against new round of ,200 rebate checks | Millions of Americans frustrated by delayed unemployment checks | Senate votes to give coronavirus relief program more flexibility Rand Paul holding up quick passage of anti-lynching bill MORE’s (R-Ky.) desire to “pause” the next round of coronavirus aid, saying workers “can’t wait.”

“We need to put some heat on him so he actually comes to the table and says, we will work in a bipartisan way to fix something that our country sorely needs fixing,” Trumka added.