Trump meets with leaders of building, sheet metal unions

Trump meets with leaders of building, sheet metal unions


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump met Monday at the White House with leaders of construction, carpenters, plumbers and sheet metal unions, the White House said.

According to the White House, participants included North America's Building Trades Unions President Sean McGarvey, Laborers' International Union of North America President Terry O'Sullivan, SMART sheet metal workers' union President Joseph Sellers, United Brotherhood of Carpenters President Doug McCarron and Mark McManus, president of the United Association that represents plumbers, pipefitters, welders and others.

The union meeting also included several local union officials and follows a gathering of 12 chief executives of large companies at the White House to discuss revitalizing the U.S. manufacturing economy.

Earlier this month, Trump held separate meetings with Teamsters President Jim Hoffa and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka in New York.

On Monday, Trump signed an order to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, a deal that was harshly criticized by organized labor. "This is a group I know well," Trump said at the meeting with union members, noting as a businessman he hired thousands of union workers for construction projects.

Not all major unions were invited to Monday's event. A spokesman for the United Steelworkers union, Wayne Ranick, said the union was not invited.

"We are always interested in such discussions given that 100,000s of our members work in manufacturing and (are) affected by trade," he said in an email.

Trump sparred with a local steelworkers union president Chuck Jones in December over the number of jobs United Technologies Corp agreed to save at a Carrier plant in Indiana.

Nearly all major unions endorsed Trump's rival, Hillary Clinton, during the presidential election campaign.

During the campaign, Trump appealed to blue collar workers in Midwestern states vowing to bring jobs back from Mexico, which helped him win crucial states like Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

A CNN exit poll said Trump carried 42 percent of voters in union households compared with 51 percent for Clinton. He did far better among union members than Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney did in 2012.

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Writing by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)