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Est. April 5, 2002
December 01, 2016 - Issue 677

Ideology before Human Rights
Trump’s UN Ambassador Pick


"Trump had to do a lot of overlooking
to achieve that combination."

If worker rights are human rights, then Donald Trump’s pick for his United Nations ambassador is someone who has shown she has little respect for workers’ rights or the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Nikki Haley, governor of South Carolina, is Trump’s UN ambassador-in-waiting and, during the Republican primary elections, she favored just about anyone but Trump and was not hesitant to say it. The 44-year-old, first generation American certainly seemed to be one of the first Republicans that Trump would go after, as soon as he became the GOP’s nominee for president, considering his apparent vindictive streak. Instead, he embraced (in a manner of speaking) Haley and made her one of two women selected early in assembling his administration.

The question is: What will Haley take to the UN in her representation of the principles on which the U.S. was founded? And the answer lies in her attitude toward working men and women in South Carolina, during her term as governor and even before that.

As governor, she has shown contempt for the principle that workers’ rights are human rights, if she ever had any idea that such rights were human rights. She, like many right-wing Republican politicians, has fought the unionization of workers in her state at every turn, acting more like a representative of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, than that of the representative of the people, not unlike U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tennessee), who acted as if he were a paid union-buster, when the workers in the Chattanooga Volkswagen plant tried to organize a union.

When the International Association of Machinists (IAM) was in the process of organizing the Boeing North Charleston plant in her state, she took to the airwaves to become the spokeswoman for the anti-union forces. And, in January 2015, she used part of her State of the State message to promote the state’s anti-union reputation. It reminded the nation and the world that the state’s hostility to unions guarantees open arms to industries considering relocation to South Carolina. It’s the South Carolina version of economic development.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was formally adopted by the United Nations on December 10, 1948, and is said to be the most universal human rights document in existence, delineating the thirty fundamental rights that form the basis for a democratic society. Among those rights is stated in No. 4 of Article 23: “Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.” In those early years of the UN, representatives from every region of the world knew that this important clause was vital for the benefit of not only the individual workers, but for his or her family, the community, and ultimately, the nation. Without the rights enumerated in the declaration, there was little chance that there would be a democratic process (of the people, by the people, and for the people) in the nation as a whole.

To show her absolute contempt for workers and their right to form unions, she was asked during the IAM’s attempt to organize Boeing workers what she would do if a large corporation (think one of the Big Three auto companies) informed her that they might relocate or build a large plant in South Carolina, but that the union would be part of the move. Her answer was simple: She said she would tell the company to stay out of South Carolina. Rare is such animus against workers and unions shown in public, but that is her attitude and that’s the attitude that she will carry to the UN and it would not be unfair if the rest of the world believed that that attitude is the attitude of the American people.

The irony of Trump’s selection of Haley as his UN ambassador is that he made multiple promises to wage working men and women, that he would bring back jobs and make their lives and America “great again.” One of the ways that workers’ lives were good was that, for some period of time in the nation, they could form unions and negotiate the terms of their working lives. Those days are long gone and the days of a secure middle class and working class are numbered, because of the attitude of politicians like Haley. Trump, in picking Haley, has ignored what she said about him during the Republican primaries. It was reported by CBSNews on Feb. 16, 2016, that Gov. Haley said that Trump represents “everything a governor doesn’t want in a president.”

As thin-skinned as Trump is, he was willing to overlook the comments he and Haley have made about each other and, in doing so, he has a young (44-year-old) first generation woman politician, who is considered as well to be a minority, since her parents emigrated from India. Trump had to do a lot of overlooking to achieve that combination.

As a state politician and governor, one of Haley’s primary goals is to reduce taxes, according to her website and to push charter schools, two things that are sure to weaken public schools systems, all the while making wage workers pay for the two-pronged approach to governing. Despite the insults that the two traded during the GOP primary elections, there appears much for the president-elect to like in Governor Haley.

How does a first generation American appear to run in the same circles as a self-described “very rich” man? Haley is the daughter of a woman who created Exotica International, a women’s clothing shop and Haley is said to have started working for her mother at the age of 12. The Economist magazine reportedly likened her to another successful woman politician, who was the daughter of shopkeepers, Margaret Thatcher. It becomes easier to see how Trump and Haley will get along just fine. Columnist, John Funiciello, is a long-time former newspaper reporter and labor organizer, who lives in the Mohawk Valley of New York State. In addition to labor work, he is organizing family farmers as they struggle to stay on the land under enormous pressure from factory food producers and land developers. Contact Mr. Funiciello and BC.




is published every Thursday
Executive Editor:
David A. Love, JD
Managing Editor:
Nancy Littlefield, MBA
Peter Gamble

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