2018 saw its share of bad players. As the stock market skyrocketed, the rich got richer while the marginalized continued to struggle to stay afloat. Attacks on the rights of working men and women increased, and to top things off, the price of beer may very well shoot up thanks to a certain president’s trade war.
We present Labor 411’s 2018 Turkeys of the Year.
10. Boeing in South Carolina
The good news is that a group of Boeing workers in South Carolina voted to unionize earlier this year. The bad news is, despite the employees voting 104-65 to be represented by the Machinists, Boeing refuses to recognize the union. This from a company that once epitomized the American Dream of a comfortable middle-class. Bonus turkeys: South Carolina’s Governor Henry McMaster and Solicitor General Robert Cook jumped into the fray. On the side of Boeing, of course.
9. Trump’s Tariffs
President Trump’s trade wars with China and other trading partners seems impulsive at best, reckless at worst, with the impact varying across industries. But the fact that the cost of beer might increase? We can’t drink to that.
8. Edmonton Oilers/Picket Line Crossers
We don’t typically write much about Canadian hockey teams, but in October we couldn’t let this one skate past us. In Boston for a match against the Bruins, the Edmonton Oilers crossed a picket line of several hundred Marriott International Employees outside a Ritz-Carlton in Boston. Maybe it’s just as well it’s been nearly 16 years since a Canadian team hoisted the Stanley Cup.
Don’t be too hasty to trumpet this trillion-dollar company’s move to a $15 minimum wage. They also patented cages for workers, exploited workers in China, eliminated monthly bonuses and stock awards, and have overall treated its employees atrociously. All this from a company’s owner, Jeff Bezos, who is worth more than $100 billion.
6. Scott Walker
Look up “Right to Work” in the dictionary and you’re bound to see a picture of out-going Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. His anti-union ways have been well documented – remember that time Walker compared Labor to ISIS? — as is his cozy relationship with the Koch Brothers. Wisconsin deserves better, and after this year’s election defeat, the Badger State can finally move forward.
5. Senator Mitch McConnell
Volumes can be written about Mitch McConnell’s embarrassing reign in the U.S. Senate. His anti-worker, anti-progressive agenda is clear. In 2018, following substantial tax cuts and giveaways to the wealthy, he blamed the ballooning deficit and debt on Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Need a fall guy? Look in the mirror, Senator.
4. Freedom Foundation
There are plenty of reasons to loathe this Conservative think tank, but for our purposes, the Freedom Foundation’s long-time opposition to organized labor is sufficient for disdain. Post Janus, the Freedom Foundation launched a West Coast campaign to convince workers to go against their interests and leave their union.
3. Black Friday Creeps
The day after Thanksgiving has long been a sort of holiday itself, celebrating our unbridled consumer culture. Unfortunately, many sales at store such as Macy’s, Target and Walmart have crept into Thanksgiving, forcing employees to work cash registers or stack boxes instead of spending time with their loved ones. The sales can wait, the cranberry sauce can’t.
2. The U.S. Supreme Court
The anti-union decision in Janus v AFSCME was the biggest blow SCOTUS dealt to working men and women across the country. But earlier this year, the Court did unions no favors by ruling in Epic Systems Corps. v Lewis that workers may not band together to challenge violations of federal labor laws. Both cases were decided 5-4.
1. President Donald Trump
The biggest turkey of them all. Where to begin? Anti-labor, anti-immigrant, anti-women, anti-media, pro Right to Work, created a catastrophic trade war, tax cuts for the rich, ballooning deficit, ballooning debt, targeting federal employees, the handling of Puerto Rico, Brett Kavanaugh, trying to gut healthcare, and attacking AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on Labor Day. That’s just to start. We could easily go on.