It may be hard to believe that Labor Day marks the traditional beginning of the "real" election season, given how long we've already been talking about the presidential campaign. But there couldn't be a higher-stakes election for American workers than this year's presidential election between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
On Labor Day, a day that honors working people and kicks off the final election sprint to November, we should talk about Trump's record on the issues that affect working families, because so much is at stake. Hardworking Americans deserve to know the truth about a man who might become president. We need the facts, not bluster, not attacks, not lies.
It's a challenge to keep track of all the outrageous things Trump has said and done, but his business record speaks loud and clear about what kind of president he would be. Trump's companies have been cited 24 times for failing to pay minimum wage or overtime. At the Trump Taj Mahal casino, which went bankrupt twice, more than 250 subcontractors weren't paid in full or on time.
A USA TODAY investigation found hundreds of people who say that Trump never paid them for their work, including construction workers and painters on Trump's Doral Miami project in Florida who weren't paid; dishwashers at a Trump resort in Palm Beach, Fla. who were denied time-and-a half for overtime hours; and wait staff, bartenders, and other hourly workers at Trump properties in California and New York who didn't receive tips customers earmarked for them or were refused break time.
His record on working people's right to have a union and bargain a fair contract is just as bad. Trump says he "100 percent" supports right-to-work, which weakens workers' right to bargain a contract. Workers at his hotel in Vegas have been fired, threatened, and have seen their benefits slashed. He tells voters he opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership -- a very bad trade deal for working people - but still manufactures his clothing and product lines in Bangladesh, China, Mexico and other overseas locations. He says workers in state like Michigan are just going to have to accept lower wages if they want manufacturing jobs back.
In contrast, Clinton has stood with working families and union families for decades. She walked the picket line with CWA members who were on strike at Verizon. She supports bargaining rights and the right to organize. She's worked to expand family and medical leave, close tax loopholes that benefit the 1 percent at the expense of our communities and secure health care and retirement benefits and equal pay. Clinton opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership both now and in a possible lame-duck session of Congress. She is the person that working families can believe in when looking for a candidate to advance their interests.
There's no question that Donald Trump would be a disaster as president. If we want American employers to treat their employees well, we shouldn't vote for someone who stiffs workers. If we want American wages to go up, we shouldn't vote for someone who repeatedly violates minimum wage laws and says U.S. wages are too high. If we want jobs to stay in this country, we shouldn't vote for someone who manufactures products overseas. If we want women to be paid equally for their work, we shouldn't vote for someone who pays his male campaign staff one-third more than his female staff. If we want veterans to be treated with respect and dignity, we shouldn't vote for someone who insults a Gold Star family.
If we want to move forward and not backward, there's just one choice. That's Hillary Clinton for president.