The President Is Cooking Up More Beef with Harley-Davidson

Matthew McMullan

Matthew McMullan Communications Manager, Alliance for American Manufacturing

President Trump welcomed members of a “Bikers for Trump” group to one of his golf resorts over the weekend. This must’ve had him thinking about motorcycles, because the next day, he fired off a tweet about Harley-Davidson, the Wisconsin-based manufacturer that started out Trump’s presidency in his good graces … only to run up against him after it used the administration’s steel and aluminum tariffs as an excuse to offshore some production of motorcycles to be sold to the EU.

Now, he’s suggesting a boycott.

That’s a pretty extraordinary move, for the president to single out a company like that. The company’s shares slid a little bit on Monday. Way to go, Mr. President, I guess.

Why would he do that?

Could be he read the New York Times articlethat sent a reporter to the annual Sturgis motorcycle rally and found bikers who saw through Harley’s tariff-blaming nonsense and acknowledged its plans to open factories offshore to supply growing markets in Asia and Europe (Harley sales stateside, on the other hand, have been declining for years).

Or maybe he sees a political value in it, and is trying to shore up support in the biker demographic – older, white, patriotic, often military veterans – by attacking the company and siphoning off its iconic, American-made bona fides.

That’s probably only half-right, but who knows? After all, he followed up his Harley tweet with a few denigrating a former White House aide – the one who was once a contestant on The Apprentice – with whom he currently has beef. It’s just as possible that it’s all simply stream-of-consciousness nonsense, albeit with stock-rattling consequences

Here’s what should be taken away from the spat with Harley-Davidson, which President Trump seems so eager to have:

When it comes to great steaks, he just raised the stakes.

The company made long-planned decisions to reduce American production capacity and increase it overseas, and tried to avoid the bad press by blaming them on the president’s steel and aluminum tariffs. Those tariffs, meanwhile, have given breathing room to thousands of American steel and aluminum workers, some of whom had been laid off for years because of a glut of overcapacity created in China. That's legitimate, and deserves to be recognized. 

And President Trump – an incredibly polarizing figure, loved by some, hated by others, who not long ago sold “Trump steaks” at the Sharper Image – will continue to be an imperfect advocate for a tariff program that American metals manufacturing have needed for a long time.

***

Reposted from AAM

Posted In: Allied Approaches, From Alliance for American Manufacturing

Union Matters

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: National Association of Letter Carriers

From the AFL-CIO

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the National Association of Letter Carriers.

Name of Union: National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC)

Mission: To unite fraternally all city letter carriers employed by the U.S. Postal Service for their mutual benefit; to obtain and secure rights as employees of the USPS and to strive at all times to promote the safety and the welfare of every member; to strive for the constant improvement of the Postal Service; and for other purposes. NALC is a single-craft union and is the sole collective-bargaining agent for city letter carriers.

Current Leadership of Union: Fredric V. Rolando serves as president of NALC, after being sworn in as the union's 18th president in 2009. Rolando began his career as a letter carrier in 1978 in South Miami before moving to Sarasota in 1984. He was elected president of Branch 2148 in 1988 and served in that role until 1999. In the ensuing years, he worked in various roles for NALC before winning his election as a national officer in 2002, when he was elected director of city delivery. In 2006, he won election as executive vice president. Rolando was re-elected as NALC president in 2010, 2014 and 2018.

Brian Renfroe serves as executive vice president, Lew Drass as vice president, Nicole Rhine as secretary-treasurer, Paul Barner as assistant secretary-treasurer, Christopher Jackson as director of city delivery, Manuel L. Peralta Jr. as director of safety and health, Dan Toth as director of retired members, Stephanie Stewart as director of the Health Benefit Plan and James W. “Jim” Yates as director of life insurance.

Number of Members: 291,000 active and retired letter carriers.

Members Work As: City letter carriers.

Industries Represented: The United States Postal Service.

History: In 1794, the first letter carriers were appointed by Congress as the implementation of the new U.S. Constitution was being put into effect. By the time of the Civil War, free delivery of city mail was established and letter carriers successfully concluded a campaign for the eight-hour workday in 1888. The next year, letter carriers came together in Milwaukee and the National Association of Letter Carriers was formed.

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work