The Dirty Dozen: The Top Twelve Attacks on Workers and Students during President Trump’s First Year in Office


1. Proposed a rule that would allow employers to pocket workers’ tips. In December 2017, the Department of Labor proposed a rule that would allow employers to pocket tips earned by workers, as long as the employer pays the worker the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.

2.Rolled back rules that ensure taxpayer dollars do not go to bad actors. On March 27, 2017, Trump signed a law invalidating rules that required federal contractors disclose their history of labor law violations. The invalidated rules also required agencies to evaluate whether potential contractors stole workers’ pay and endangered worker safety. Moreover, it prohibited contractors from forcing employees to sign away their rights to a day in court if sexual harassment or assault allegations arise.

3. Made saving for retirement even harder. Last spring, Trump signed two laws invalidating rules that allowed states and local governments to set up retirement savings plans for individuals who do not have access to retirement savings plans at work.  In November 2017, the Department of Labor delayed a critical part of the consumer protection rule that allows retirement savers to sue investment advisors who breach their fiduciary duty to provide retirement advice that is in the best interest of their client.

4. Jeopardized worker safety. In June 2017, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) stopped work on half of its health and safety standards that were under development, including standards to protect workers from exposure to toxic chemicals, prevent chemical explosion hazards and prevent violence in health care facilities.

5. Weakened protections for workers trying to form a union. Throughout 2017, President Trump made anti-worker appointments to the National Labor Relations Board, an independent agency established to safeguard employees’ rights to organize. Within three months, these Members overturned major pro-worker decisions. Specifically, they overturned a decision that ensured workers can bring all employers to the bargaining table when multiple employers control their pay or working conditions. They also overturned a decision that prevented employers from tipping the scales against unions by gerrymandering union elections.

6. Recommended deep cuts to job training programs that help workers find good-paying jobs. In May 2017, the Trump administration sent a budget request to Congress to make a drastic 40 percent cut to job training programs. These programs help youth, adults, and dislocated workers find good-paying jobs and connect employers to qualified workers.  



7. Exposed victims of sexual assault and transgender students to potential discrimination and harassment on campuses. On February 22, 2017, the Department of Education sent a Dear Colleague letter withdrawing the statements of policy and guidance protecting the rights of transgender students. In September 2017, the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights released new guidance that rescinds the 2011 and 2014 documents that explained the Title IX requirements to protect for victims of sexual harassment.

8. Prevented students saddled with debt from gaining reliefOver 2017, the Department of Education delayed implementation of the Gainful Employment rule, which would have prevented low-quality career programs from continuing to market themselves to unsuspecting students. The Department also delayed implementation of Borrower Defense rules, which would have allowed borrowers to receive financial relief from unjustified student loan debt

9. Removed protections that improved equity in education. In March 2017, President Trump signed a law that invalidated regulations ensuring that low-income students, students of color, English learners, and students with disabilities get the educational support they need to succeed.  Most recently, in December 2017, the Department of Education proposed delaying the implementation of a regulation to protect minority students with disabilities from racial bias in disability identification, placement, and discipline. This would undermine the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which was signed into law 42 years ago.


Health Care:

10. Denied workers contraceptive coverage. On October 6, 2017, the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and the Treasury announced rules that would allow employers and institutions of higher education to refuse to provide contraceptive coverage for their employees based on the employer’s religious or moral objections.

11. Sabotaged affordable health care coverage for millions of Americans. In December 2017, Republicans paid for huge tax cuts for billionaires and corporations by cutting health care for millions of Americans. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the GOP tax bill will increase premiums by 10 percent and leave 13 million Americans without health insurance over the next 10 years. The administration deliberately tried to sabotage the ACA by cutting outreach and advertising to encourage ACA enrollment and by ending subsidies that help working families with their copays and deductibles. On May 4, 2017, the House passed the American Health Care Act (H.R. 1628), which, if signed into law, would have resulted in 23 million fewer Americans with health care coverage. 

12. Pushed to undermine consumer protections for small businesses and their employees. Both Congress and the administration have taken steps to try to unravel the ACA’s consumer protections, such as the requirement that small businesses’ health plans cover essential benefits. These benefits include needed coverage, such as maternity care and substance use disorder treatment.  On March 22, 2017, the House passed the Small Business Health Fairness Act of 2017 (H.R. 1101), which the National Association of Insurance Commissioners warned could actually increase insurance costs for many small businesses. The administration proposed a related rule on January 5, 2018.