Right-wing politicians have been waging war on workers in the U.S., but they aren’t going to win, says Sean McGarvey, secretary-treasurer of the AFL-CIO Building and Construction Trades Department.
“The bottom line is that there ‘s been an all-out assault on workers in the U.S.,” he told about 250 delegates at a meeting of the Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario held in Niagara Falls.
However, the building trades and other unions are fighting back and the public is now also beginning to get sick of the games being played by politicians, he said.
Some “pretty draconian” legislation has been passed by politicians in a number of states, including Wisconsin, Michigan, Florida and Ohio, McGarvey said.
Meanwhile, right-wingers have thrown “everything but the kitchen sink” at workers in an effort to erode their pensions and collective bargaining agreements, he said.
The assault has taken a toll, McGarvey told the meeting, and has been successful in some U.S. states.
For example, he said, right-to-work legislation has been introduced in 18 states that didn’t have it.
However, the trades are fighting back by attempting to reverse the legislation that was passed in various states, he noted.
“I am optimistic things will get better,” McGarvey said.
He suggested the U.S. building trades might be able to take a page from the Ontario group by learning how they prevented a Conservative government from being elected in the province.
“It gives us great hope in the U.S. that we could do the same,” he said.
Patrick Dillon, business manager of the provincial building trades, said he is more than willing to help trades in the U.S.
“When it comes to the right-wing agenda, there really is no border,” said Dillon.