Following up his role in inciting the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by rejecting votes from states that went for President Joe Biden, Senator Ted Cruz has been attempting to pivot in a new direction: championing the working class and unions. That’s a big surprise for unions in Texas that have witnessed firsthand the junior senator’s antagonism for labor rights and policies that actually support the working class.
When the Biden administration announced an executive order revoking a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, many Texas Republicans, including Cruz, lamented it would cost thousands of jobs, especially union jobs. In a Senate confirmation hearing for Pete Buttigieg, Cruz specifically said ending the Keystone XL pipeline permit would cost the country 11,000 jobs. The Washington Post fact-checked that figure (which Cruz actually linked to his Twitter account), and noted that almost all the jobs were temporary.
Cruz is vehemently opposed to strengthening the green energy economy, which many experts believe would actually create more sustainable, high-paying jobs than the oil and gas sector. When President Biden announced in an executive order that the United States would re-enter the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. Cruz criticized the White House for caring more about the citizens of Paris than Pittsburgh, which he was roundly roasted for.
Cruz also blasted a recent White House press briefing with climate czar John Kerry, who was speaking about the potential new jobs that oil and gas workers could transition into. Cruz compared Kerry to Marie Antoinette saying he was “rich” and “out-of-touch.” He even invoked the oft-cited (and likely false) phrase from Antoinette “let them eat cake.”
Cruz has taken his talking point about blue-collar workers to Twitter in response to actor Seth Rogen calling him out for being a “fascist.” Not only did Cruz then refer to Rogen as a “moron,” but he also called into question his support of blue-collar workers. Rogen responded by noting he is a member of four unions.
Cruz’s newfound “support” for unions directly contradicts his entire political career. According to an AFL-CIO scorecard, Cruz has a lifetime score of 6 percent when it comes to voting for working people. The average Senate Republican clocks in at 17 percent.
When he was running for president, Cruz said he would support a national “right-to-work” law. In an interview with a Milwaukee radio station, Cruz said a potential right-to-work law “is exactly what we need in Washington.” Right-to-work laws typically prohibit agreements between labor unions and employers.
As a Senator, Cruz applauded former President Trump’s nomination of Eugene Scalia to head the Department of Labor. Scalia’s nomination was widely opposed by numerous unions for his support of corporations over the rights of workers. Before becoming Labor Secretary, Scalia was a corporate lawyer who defended several large businesses in labor law cases, including SeaWorld after an orca trainer was killed.
Cruz voted against Senate Resolution 333 which mandated paid family leave for federal personnel. He also voted against another Senate Resolution that provided for the repeal of a regulation from the Departments of Treasury and Health and Human Services that allowed for the sale of junk health insurance plans.
For Rick Levy, the President of the Texas AFL-CIO, Cruz’s recent claims about unions rings hollow. “Shocked, shocked I tell you that Sen. Cruz is trying to play cynical political games with President Biden’s bold proposal to create millions of good paying union jobs in the new green economy,” said Levy in a statement to Texas Signal.
“Workers in Texas and those that truly support us are fighting for restoring the right to organize by passing the PRO act, for enforceable workplace safety, for raising the minimum wage to give all workers a fair shot at achieving their dreams. We’d love to have the Senator’s support for blue-collar workers on these and many other key issues, but forgive us for not holding our breath,” said Levy.
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