Trump Chastises Union Leader On Labor Day Over NAFTA Comments

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NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 18: Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, waits to speak during a rally of hundreds of union members in support of IBEW Local 3 (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers) at Cadman Plaza Park, September 18, 2017 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. More than 1800 members of IBEW Local 3 are entering their sixth month of a strike in a contract dispute with Charter Communications/Spectrum. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump started his Labor Day by lashing out at a top union leader after criticism from AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.

Trump tweeted Monday that Trumka “represented his union poorly on television this weekend.” He added: “it is easy to see why unions are doing so poorly. A Dem!”

The president’s attack came after Trumka appeared on “Fox News Sunday” over the weekend where he said efforts to overhaul the North American Free Trade Agreement should include Canada. Trumka, whose organization is an umbrella group for most unions, said the economies of the United States, Canada and Mexico are “integrated” and “it’s pretty hard to see how that would work without having Canada in the deal.”

Trump said Saturday on Twitter that there was “no political necessity” to keep Canada in NAFTA. But it’s questionable whether Trump can unilaterally exclude Canada from a deal to replace the three-nation NAFTA agreement, without the approval of Congress. Any such move would likely face lengthy legal and congressional challenges.

Trump administration negotiations to keep Canada in the reimagined trade bloc are to resume this week as Washington and Ottawa try to break a deadlock over issues such as Canada’s dairy market and U.S. efforts to shield drug companies from generic competition.

Trump wants to get a trade deal finalized by Dec. 1.

Trumka also said of Trump: “the things that he’s done to hurt workers outpace what he’s done to help workers,” arguing that Trump has not come through with an infrastructure program and has overturned regulations that “will hurt us on the job.”

Asked about the low unemployment rate and economic growth, Trumka said “those are good, but wages have been down since the first of the year. Gas prices have been up since the first of the year. So, overall, workers aren’t doing as well.”

On Monday, Trump touted the economy, saying “Our country is doing better than ever before with unemployment setting record lows.” He added, “The Worker in America is doing better than ever before. Celebrate Labor Day!”

The unemployment rate of 3.9 percent is not at the best point ever — it is near the lowest in 18 years.

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