Despite the rhetoric, President Donald Trump has been no friend to the working class. Not only is he and his family sucking up taxpayer money in a number of alarming (and likely illegal) ways, but he’s managed to go out of his way to dismantle his predecessor’s legacy at every opportunity. That includes big changes to how we conduct foreign policy, for example. Trump has also made some big decisions regarding our trade and economic policies. And it extends into labor laws and regulations.
As a businessman, of course, Trump has an almost fundamental ideological opposition to most regulation. But when it comes to labor laws — especially those meant to protect workers from harm — doing away with some regulations can have sizeable effects for those punching the clock.
The Trump administration and labor laws
Though the Trump administration has had little success creating and passing new legislation, it has been busy gutting current laws. As of early September, more than 860 rules and regulations — many of them having to do with worker protections — have been weakened or killed off completely, according to The Seattle Times. While that’s good news for business owners and employers as it becomes cheaper and easier to make money, it’s hurting workers.
It might lead to workplaces being less safe, for example. Or, in other cases, it could make it harder for middle-class workers to save for retirement. There are a lot of changes that have been put in place, and the vast majority of them (as they relate to labor specifically) should have the average American concerned.
Here is a sampling of the laws Trump has killed or altered so far.
1. Employers no longer need to keep records of workplace injuries
- You’ll have a much harder time finding information related to workplace injuries now.
You’ll notice there are quite a number of workplace safety-related rules that have been repealed under Trump. This is only one of them. It concerns the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and guidelines related to issuing fines or citations for failing to keep records of workplace injuries and deaths. Republicans, including Mitch McConnell, said the rule increased “paperwork burdens” for businesses, eating up time and resources. For that reason, they shelved it.
Next: Overtime pay is next on the list.
2. Overtime eligibility
- Estimates said the overtime rules would raise pay for 4 million workers by $12 billion over the next decade.
The Obama administration passed a rule related to overtime pay, stating that salaried workers earning less than $47,476 would receive overtime pay if they work more than 40 hours. It was meant to stop people from being put in low-paying “management” positions to skirt overtime rules that would apply to hourly workers. It’s still in the works, but we’ll see what happens.
Next: Another thing you’ll need to worry about? Hazardous chemicals at the workplace.
3. Scuttling the U.S. Chemical Safety Board
- The board’s annual budget is equal to roughly four trips to Mar-a-Lago.
Having a federal agency in charge of chemical hazards seems like a good idea. That’s the idea behind the Chemical Safety Board, which is tasked with investigating chemical accidents (much like the National Transportation Safety Board investigates plane crashes). It’s also on the chopping block, as the Trump administration is evidently trying to defund it. Though the board has no ability to make or enforce rules, it’s enough of a thorn in the side of big business that it’s in Trump’s crosshairs.
Next: Not even soldiers are safe from the Trump administration.
4. Transgender military ban
- Banning transgender service members, in an effort to save money, will cost the military $960 million. And that’s just the monetary damage.
We all remember Trump’s big decision to bar transgender people from the military, which he claimed to have decided after discussing with military leaders. That, naturally, was a lie. But his plan to ban those service members is still in place. So even if you’re willing to put your life on the line for your country, you have no protection under the current administration. It’s unclear whether the current service members will be discharged.
Next: Another labor law that bit the dust? One aimed at closing the pay gap.
5. Repealing a rule meant to help close the pay gap
- Under this rule, companies with more than 100 employees would need to report pay by gender, race, and ethnic background to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
In 2016, President Barack Obama passed a rule requiring employers with more than 100 employees to report compensation data as it related to gender, race, and ethnicity to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Essentially, it was an effort to make pay more transparent and to close the pay gap. It’s yet another rule that the administration has chosen to scuttle, presumably in an effort to free up time and resources for businesses.
Next: Good luck finding out whether your workplace has a history of nasty injuries or discrimination.
6. Employers no longer have to disclose safety and discrimination violations
- Obama’s 2014 executive order was meant to increase transparency for federal contractors.
Another rule concerning federal contractors and workplace safety violations, Republicans voted to kill the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces order issued in 2014. That order made it mandatory for federal contractors to disclose safety and discrimination violations, among other things. Senate Republicans voted to do away with the rule in March by a 49-48 vote. This was one of the first labor laws and rules that was dismantled.
Next: What about retirement planning?
7. Backstepping on state retirement planning
- Seven states already had retirement savings plans for private-sector workers before the rule was scrapped.
We have a budding retirement crisis in this country, and anything we can do to help people save up is typically considered a good thing. The Republicans and Trump administration don’t see it that way. They rolled back another Obama rule that helped make way for states to create their own retirement savings plans for workers in the private sector. Seven states had already started when the rule was done away with in May. While not a labor law specifically, it definitely has implications for the country’s workforce.
Next: The fiduciary rule and what it means for you
8. The fiduciary rule
- Without the fiduciary rule, financial professionals are not bound by law to look out for their clients. Instead, they can look out for themselves.
You’ve probably heard of the fiduciary rule. It basically says people handling your money or giving you advice about it have to act in your best interest, not their own. This is another rule that Trump and Republicans don’t like and have threatened to do away with. While it hasn’t been rolled back just yet, they are attempting to stop it from going into action.
Again, this isn’t a labor law per se, but it’s a financial rule mean to protect the average American who has limited knowledge of the world of finance. We’ll have to wait and see whether the rule can survive the Trump administration.
Next: Even restaurant workers are feeling the sting of the Trump administration’s anti-regulation campaign.
9. Rehashing tipping guidelines
- Ironically, scrapping this rule leads to literal wealth redistribution.
It should be clear by now: Trump doesn’t like Obama-era rules. And this is yet another his administration has torn up. This particular decree had to do with a 2011 rule that made any tips earned by a particular employee the property of that employee. Without the rule, employers can take tips, “pool” them, and then share them with other employees.
It’s a bit confusing, but it basically has to do with employers finding ways to redistribute tips or even take it for themselves. That’s not what you want to hear if you’ve been busting your butt serving tables all night.
Next: Drug tests for the unemployed
10. Drug testing the unemployed
- Drug testing unemployment insurance recipients in 2015 amounted to a cost of $2,650 per positive test.
The last thing you want to deal with after losing your job is a drug test. But this is yet another thing many in the Republican party feel is a necessary evil. Back in March, the Senate voted to repeal another Obama regulation that governed drug testing for those who receive unemployment benefits. While not everyone everywhere can be subjected to a drug test while receiving unemployment, it leaves the door open.
Next: It might not be much of a surprise, but female workers aren’t going to fair as well under Trump as before.
11. Gutting women’s protections
- This covers more rules under the 2014 Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces order.
You’ll remember this order from earlier. The 2014 Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces order aimed to bolster transparency and accountability among federal contractors. Essentially, these companies would need to comply with a set of labor laws and civil rights laws and reward those that complied.
For women, this meant two big things: transparency in terms of compensation and banning forced arbitration clauses for sexual harassment, sexual assault or discrimination claims, according to NBC News. But like the others on our list, it’s been rescinded.
Next: You’re also more vulnerable to the police than before, thanks to the Donald.
12. Civil forfeiture: The return
- In 2014, police departments seized $4.3 billion from citizens.
This may not be a labor law, exactly, but it affects just about everyone in the country. It’s the guidelines that make it more or less legal for the police to engage in highway robbery. Civil forfeiture allows police departments to steal your stuff, basically, and its reinstatement by Attorney General Jeff Sessions brings back a wildly unpopular tactic in policing. What do the cops do with the stuff they seize, you ask? They sell it and use the proceeds to buy new equipment, such as vehicles and tactical gear.
Next: Finally, even the roads and bridges you depend on to get to work are in the crosshairs.
13. Infrastructure requirements ended
- Trump slashed infrastructure standards, particularly those having to do with flood concerns, right before Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
You’d think after witnessing giant hurricanes and unprecedented flooding we’d be trying to strengthen our infrastructure. And given how many millions of Americans depend on our roads and bridges to get to work, we’re including this on the list. Trump rolled back regulations on infrastructure projects in an effort to hasten their completion by allowing them to be built without taking rising sea levels or other climate change-related issues into consideration.