Guest Columnist

On Labor Day, remember what President Trump has done for Iowa workers

His failure to ensure the safety of our workers during this pandemic has threatened our way of life

Around 60 people attended a watch party on Thursday to see President Donald Trump's nomination acceptance speech during
Around 60 people attended a watch party on Thursday to see President Donald Trump's nomination acceptance speech during the Repbulican National Convention. (Caitlin Yamada. The Union)

Iowans are workers. We take pride in our work and don’t expect anyone to do the work for us. We wake up, go to work in factories, construction sites, schools, farms and offices. We earn our keep and go home to our families. It might not be easy — but we make the economy work.

Over the past four years, conditions for Iowa workers have not improved: Disastrous trade wars, favoring of oil tycoons over Iowa farmers, the failure to adequately manage the COVID-19 pandemic and an economy that continues to reward the wealthy and punish workers; an economy rigged by Donald Trump in favor of his wealthy friends.

Workers deserve safe workplaces and Trump refuses to adopt adequate OSHA standards to protect our medical, emergency service, teachers and essential workers in meatpacking plants, food service and grocery stores. His failure to ensure the safety of our workers during this pandemic has threatened our way of life, left more than 150,000 Iowans unemployed, while putting thousands more jobs at risk.

Even without the pandemic, the Trump administration has been blatantly hostile to workers, stacking the National Labor Relations Board, attacking postal workers and others who provide the services Americans depend on, while trying to gut our health care system in the middle of a global pandemic. Meanwhile, he’s stacking the deck, giving massive tax breaks and billion-dollar bailouts to his ultrarich golf buddies and overseas corporations.

The president’s attacks on Iowa workers coincide with Iowa Republican efforts, such as gutting a collective bargaining law that served Iowa well for more than four decades, attacking injured workers by altering the workers’ compensation system to dramatically favor employers over workers and stripping local control from Iowa’s communities.

Labor Day is intended to celebrate working people. But with tens of thousands unemployed, minimum wage stuck for more than a decade, and an economy that is rigged, this Labor Day we must recognize the urgency of the upcoming election.

If you can say your life is better off today than it was four years ago, you have an easy choice, but if you are like the vast majority of Iowans who need to have someone in the White House who will have your back, it is time to say, “You’re fired,” to the current President and get someone who can do the job for working people.

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We can do that together by voting for Joe Biden — because a vote for Joe Biden is a vote for working families. Too often folks say, “This is the most important election of our lifetime,” and it is. The outcome is in the hands of working Iowans. Make sure you are registered to vote, have a plan to get your ballot counted. Talk to your friends and family. Together, let’s fire Donald Trump and hire Joe Biden.

Ken Sagar is a former president of the Iowa Federation of Labor.

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