Following an election whose end result decimated hopes for addressing the nation’s income-inequality challenges, Indivisible: Conejo’s Issue Action Team on Economic Justice is organizing to battle Trump-administration and congressional assaults on workplace and union rights. It also is pushing at the local and state levels for improvements in the working conditions and pay levels of farm workers, and advocating for progress toward a higher national minimum wage. The team’s efforts include:
- Monitoring legislation at the federal and state levels that would affect the conditions, overtime pay, etc., of area farm workers and other laborers.
- Encouraging our members of Congress and senators to oppose new restrictions on labor rights – such as right-to-work laws, the breaking of pension contracts and elimination of bargaining rights for public employees, and expected backsliding on workplace protections in the Trump Labor department.
- Advocating for minimum-wage increases, and other measures to address income disparity, at the national level, via letters to the editor, social-media communication, etc.
- Collaborating with, and providing support to, existing advocacy organizations that are working to improve the rights, conditions and compensation for local workers.
The 2016 campaign seemed to offer abundant opportunities to address the nation’s rising income inequality, via the Democratic platform’s embrace of the $15 minimum wage, tax proposals designed to favor job creation and worker protections over outsourcing, automation and shareholder abuse. The incoming Trump administration, despite claims that Trump’s rise will bring gains for American workers, has based its early proposals on baseless assumptions about undocumented immigrants and the usual giveaways to the wealthy, expecting a long-since-discredited trickle-down effect.
Meanwhile, conservatives in Congress see Trump’s rise as an opportunity to dismantle union rights and workplace protections at the national level, the same way such initiatives have harmed workers in states such as Wisconsin and North Carolina. And a conservative administration in the White House likely will result in diminished enforcement of existing labor laws across the executive branch, and particularly within the Department of Labor. Meanwhile, Trump already has signaled anideological shift in the goals of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the National Labor Relations Board, with appointments of new chairs for those agencies and opportunities to fill more slots with business-friendly regulators.