Republican presidential candidate Tim Scott defended remarks about potentially firing striking United Auto Workers members and blamed unions and Democratic policies for, in-part, bringing the issue to a head.
Scott, a South Carolina senator, was criticized after NBC News reported he told an Iowa crowd that former President Ronald Reagan set a “great example” when he offered a “you strike, you’re fired” ultimatum to unionized workers.
Reagan fired 11,000 striking air traffic controllers in 1981, going further to prohibit them from working in a federal capacity for the rest of their lives. His administration essentially allowed the workers to be replaced by several thousand supervisors, military members and workers who declined to strike.
On “Hannity,” host Sean Hannity told Scott he disagreed with demands like a four-day work week and posited that Biden administration policies, including outsourcing and electric vehicle production, have negatively affected U.S. automakers and their employees.
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He said Ford’s electric Model E division is on track to lose more than $4 billion in profits.
“Any time you have a president who drives us to inflationary levels of 16%, this is like the sequel to the Jimmy Carter years,” Scott replied. “It is devastating, and it’s devastating working-class Americans.”
“They’ve lost thousands of dollars of spending power, and without any question, whether you’re a non-union or a union worker, you’re being devastated by the Bidenomics. Devastated.”
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Scott said unions writ-large were “bailed out” by President Biden’s American Rescue Plan to the tune of $86 billion. The same figure was cited by CNBC as an appropriation made to failing multi-employer pension plans.
When Hannity replied that the unions are “forcing the Democrats… “, Scott interjected, “They own them.”
“Putting $86 billion of your money into shoring up union pensions because they keep overpromising and under-delivering is just wrong. We need a president who says, ‘We are not going to subsidize unions, period.'”
“You made the deal, you live by the deal. If it goes belly-up, it’s not on the back of the taxpayers,” Scott said.
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Scott also responded to questions on the disparity of CEO pay, saying that merit-based, performance-based compensation for corporate executives, as is custom for rank-and-file workers, would “make the world a better place.”
He cited a steel company in South Carolina that reportedly pays many of its workers “production bonuses” that add up to net six-figure salaries.
“We should encourage and incent[ivize] compensation to match the production of a company,” he said. “When you make the company more money, you should share in the profits of that company.”
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