A group of state labor leaders backing Hillary Clinton is stumping around the state, including in the Youngstown, where Donald Trump is hoping to attract disaffected union members and other Democrats.
Leaders of Ohio’s labor coalition, the AFL-CIO, and individual unions appeared in Cleveland and Youngstown to underscore their message that Hillary Clinton has the plan to rejuvenate the working class and that Donald Trump is a hypocrite.
Dave McCall, a United Steelworkers district director, said labor’s been campaigning for years against trade deals that have been bad for workers here and abroad. But he challenged Trump’s sincerity and ability to rework trade deals and his call for a 35 percent tax on all imports.
“That’s not the answer. The American economy is based on trade. We need trade. It needs to be fair trade and it needs to be on a level playing field. And simply putting a 35 percent tax on goods coming into the country isn’t the answer. It will only start a trade war."
In contrast, the union leaders noted that Hillary Clinton is proposing a federal trade. Trump has accused Clinton of backing the bad trade deals she’s now challenging.
But the labor leaders maintain Trump's history in business contradicts his stump speeches.
They've long supported Clinton. The question is whether they’ll be able to bring members along with them, especially in areas like Youngstown, where Trump draws big crowds and had strong support in the Republican primary. Holding up a Trump-brand shirt and tie, AFL-CIO Ohio chief Tim Burga maintained the Trump attraction is fading as people examine his business record.
“Donald Trump by just talking loud and boisterous, and saying he wants to be tough on China – while he’s making his shirts on Bangladesh and his ties in China-- it has a surface appeal. Once you scratch the surface a little bit and really look at the facts, who is this person what does he stand for and what has he done, and you heard from our leaders today, it’s a pretty deplorable record.
Trump is targeting disaffected Democrats and independents in Ohio, saying Democratic policies have failed them.