Unions considering holding general strike if Trump refuses to leave office

James Crump
·3-min read
<p>Protesters take part in the AFL-CIO Workers First Caravan for Racial and Economic Justice near the U.S. Capitol on 17 June 2020 in Washington DC</p> ((Getty Images))

Protesters take part in the AFL-CIO Workers First Caravan for Racial and Economic Justice near the U.S. Capitol on 17 June 2020 in Washington DC

((Getty Images))

Dozens of US labor unions are considering holding a general strike if Donald Trump loses the election and refuses to accept the result.

President Trump has repeatedly refused to commit to accept the result of 3 November’s national election, as he has falsely claimed that mail-in-voting will lead to widespread fraud.

In an interview in July, he said without evidence that he might not accept a losing result in November’s election, because “mail-in voting is going to rig” it, and added at a rally later in the year: “I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election if I win.”

FiveThirtyEight, a polling organisation that creates an average from all public surveys, currently shows Democratic challenger Joe Biden with a 8.9 lead nationally, while President Trump has claimed that polls that show him losing to the former vice president are “fake news”.

Earlier this month, the Rochester-Genesee Valley Area Labor Federation in New York, which boasts a membership of 100,000 people, was the first union in the US to support the idea of a general strike if President Trump refuses to accept the election result.

The union adopted a resolution that stated it would start preparation for “a general strike of all working people, if necessary, to ensure a constitutionally mandated peaceful transition of power as a result of the 2020 presidential elections.”

The resolution also stated that the union would lobby other organisations to do the same, ranging from local groups, to the AFL-CIO, which is America’s largest labor federation and represents more than 12.5 million people, according to Common Dreams.

However, the AFL-CIO has so far only committed to “defend our democratic republic,” while its president Richard Trumka has said that union focus up until the election should be on maximising the vote for Mr Biden.

Other local labor federations in Seattle and Massachusetts also passed motions last week to consider a general strike if President Trump refuses to accept the election outcome, as the idea has spread across the US.

Dan Maloney, president of the Rochester-Genesee Valley Area Labor Federation, told The Guardian: “The idea has gotten a lot more legs than I ever thought it would.

“Our democracy is in jeopardy of a wannabe dictator. It’s time to be counted and do whatever it takes to remove him from office if he attempts to retain power against the will of the American people.”

Mr Maloney added: “In drastic times, you need drastic measures.”

There has not been a general strike in the US since 1946, with the action then restricted to just Oakland, California, according to The Guardian.

Workers in Oakland went on strike over low wages, which caused all of the city’s businesses, except for supermarkets and pharmacies, to close for one month.

In a statement after passing a similar resolution to consider a general strike last week, MLK Labor in Seattle, which represents 100,000 members, said: “The labor movements must respond with nonviolent action to defend the democratic process, the Constitution and an orderly transfer of power that is one of the historic hallmarks of American democracy.”

The group added: “The labor movement must be ready to defend our democracy and use our collective power to ensure that every vote is counted.”

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