Policy Watch: Tracking Congress and the administration’s rollback of workers’ rights

Last week, the Perkins Project launched the Worker Rights and Wages Policy Watch, which tracks actions by the Trump administration, Congress, and federal agencies that affect working people and the economy. A review of Policy Watch posts to date shows President Trump and congressional Republicans’ commitment to advancing an agenda that favors corporate interests ahead of workers. Consider their actions just this week: on Monday, President Trump signed into law a measure blocking the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Rule which would have helped ensure that federal contracts were not awarded to companies with track records of labor and employment law violations. That same day, the Department of Labor announced a proposed delay of a rule aimed at improving the health and safety of miners.

Meanwhile, while most of the news coverage was focused on House Republicans’ inability to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, they have been quietly overturning important worker protections and in the first few months of this session, making it more difficult for federal agencies to enforce labor and employment laws. One of these measures mandates that agencies place compliance cost considerations above all else, relegating the benefits to workers and consumers to secondary status.

The administration has also repeatedly placed corporate interests ahead of workers. In addition to this week’s announcement of a proposed delay of a rule to enhance workplace safety standards for miners, the administration has proposed delaying the implementation of the “fiduciary rule,” which would require financial professionals to act in their clients’ best interests when recommending investment products or strategies to people saving for retirement. The Trump administration’s proposed delay of 60 days will cost workers saving for retirement $3.7 billion.

The Trump administration and congressional Republicans have already taken a number of actions that hurt workers and stack the deck for corporate interests. The Perkins Project Policy Watch will continue to track what they do and provide information on how their actions impact our nation’s workers.