A prominent UAW leader in the Detroit area called out President Donald Trump after an anti-teachers union activist was given a prominent spot during the first night of the Republican National Convention.
Cindy Estrada, who heads the Fiat Chrysler Department for the UAW, took to Facebook to register her displeasure Monday, accusing Trump of being anti-union all along. It’s a point with interesting implications because unions traditionally represent an important constituency for Democrats. Trump, who in 2016 gained support among union households compared to Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential run, would love to expand his following even more among union workers.
“For all those union members still supporters of Trump it only took five minutes into convention before they started bashing unions! That is the real Donald Trump who has been and will always be anti union,” read Estrada’s post, which garnered hundreds of reactions, comments and shares.
The UAW has endorsed Democrat Joe Biden for president. Biden said “Unions built America” during a brief televised conversation with union workers, including local GM autoworker Gerald Lang, at last week’s Democratic National Convention.
The activist at the Republican convention, Rebecca Friedrichs, a longtime California school teacher, was one of the first speakers of the night and highlighted a laundry list of inflammatory accusations against teachers unions and their leaders.
“I’m here to give voice to America’s great teachers because our voices have been silenced for decades, by unions who claim to represent us. They do not,” she said. “When other dedicated teachers and I served within the unions, we spoke up in defense of children, parents, scientific fact and American values. For our trouble, we were brutalized, booed off the platform, barred from committees, shouted down and even spit upon by union leaders. This is how unions treat devoted teachers.”
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Friedrichs fought the California Teachers Association in litigation that foreshadowed the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2018 Janus decision hindering union abilities to collect fees from non-members.
Trump is “breaking the unions’ grip on our schools. That’s why unions have tried to destroy him since the day he was elected. But President Trump isn’t afraid to fight for what’s right. He won’t back down. His courage gives great teachers renewed hope,” Friedrichs said.