GP Sellers: Vote and Volunteer Union

August 3, 2016

By the time you get this Members’ Journal, the U.S. Presidential election will
be just three months away. That’s 90 days to gather
 the facts, make choices-and pitch in some time for candidates who support and respect American Labor.
The choice before the American people in this election is clear-for the Senate, the House, and, certainly, the White House.
On one side is a party in chaos, with its vision of a fearful America drive n by an unpredictable candidate. America would be less stable and less secure from the first day he took power.
On the other side is the vision 
of a strong, confident America, 
a forward-thinking and well­ respected nation with a responsible president who respects American workers and will lead us while keeping our country safe and our economy growing.
Americans-and most SMART members, according to our own survey-are looking for a president who has clear goals and can deliver results. They want someone who will take office with the experience, skills and broad knowledge to make a real difference in their lives.
In the campaign home stretch and in voting, each of us can make a difference, too. We can elect
true friends to the Senate, House, and Governorships.
And for President? At this moment, we have only one choice.
Labor stands united for
 a President on our side
Hillary Clinton is a tough, proven leader who has battled her opponents and delivered results, time and time again. Above all else, she has a long and clearly stated respect for organized labor and a strong middle class.
That’s why, after the primaries, the AFL-CIO overwhelmingly endorsed her.
“American workers don’t quit, and I won’t quit on them,” Clinton said at the 2016 Building Trades Legislative Conference. “If I become your president, I will be your champion in the White House-and you will have a seat at the table.”
“Unions helped build the greatest middle class in the history of the world,” she told the AFL-CIO this spring. “When unions are strong, wages go up for both union and non-union families. The middle class expands and the entire economy is more dynamic for everyone.”
And union-busting right-to­ work laws? “Republican governors and legislatures are waging a relentless assault,” she said. “Right to work is wrong for workers and wrong for America.”
Clear plans, more jobs for all of SMART’s membership
Clinton is more than talk. She is ready with clear, coherent policies that will support collective bargaining, protect union rights-and build many more union jobs. As president, Clinton will help SMART members across all of our crafts.
Her energy-efficiency program will mean jobs across the whole Sheet Metal industry. For the Transportation Division, her infra­structure plan has new rail and mass transit-and she pledged to research ways we can keep coal in the energy mix.
Hillary Clinton will create jobs and opportunities for working families to move back up the ladder.
Trump will hurt workers and make America… unstable
The alternative is Donald Trump. To start, he is anti-worker, anti­ union and even has run good union contractors out of business.
Trump plainly lacks the knowledge and stability to be Commander in Chief. His off-the-cuff tweets and ever-changing “statements” are deeply troubling and likely to harm our security and our economy.
He praises anti-American dictators like Vladimir Putin. He picks fights with friends like the British Prime Minister and the Pope. For some reason he believes America is weak. He called our military a disaster. He has said America is a “third-world country.”
Most important, his economic view hinges on the firm Republican belief that American workers are overpaid. Since 2010, he has tried to hire 500 “foreign guest workers” at his Florida estate while hiring just 17 U.S. residents over the same period. As a billionaire, developer and Republican business tycoon, none of this is surprising.
Trump wants what all ruthless billionaires want. He and the Republican party want workers to fight each other over sinking wages while the wealthiest get even wealthier.
In contrast, Hillary Clinton praises unions. She wants wages to rise. She, like all Democrats-most visibly Bernie Sanders-have cemented the fact that this election is about “the 90%” getting their fair share. That’s you, our members, our Union.
His bankruptcy and lawsuits are a dodge-not expertise
The fact is that Trump is a manipulative profiteer who has suckered people time and again to make himself the “richest person in bankruptcy.” He boasts about making hundreds of millions of dollars by putting his failed casinos into bankruptcy-which he did four times.
Even worse are the victims of that greed. USA Today reported that in the last 30 years, Trump was involved in more than
 3,500 lawsuits, many with small businesses and individuals-ordinary Americans like plumbers, painters, waiters and bartenders. They have testified how Trump companies simply refused to pay them and tied them up in court to overpower and outlast them.
Time to elect a friend-for jobs, fair wages, and respect
The biggest issues in this election are economic: who will ensure that
 all Americans can earn a decent day’s pay for a decent day’s work? After all the debates and the speeches, that answer is clear, and the time to give our collective effort, our support and our votes is at hand.
As union members, we must use our energy and our ballots to elect a president who will increase jobs and wages, not press for
pay cuts and layoffs. We must make every effort to win back a friendly Senate majority and vital Congressional seats.
In Hillary Clinton’s own words, Unions can have a champion in 
the White House and a seat at the table. That is what our support will mean-as long as we deliver.
So now it is time to focus on what counts and to provide that support. It is time to elect a president who believes in organized Labor.
As union members, it is time to restore our rightful place, in the economy and in our society.
Joseph Sellers, Jr.
General President