Don Gonyea

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Updated at 3:42 p.m. ET

You might call it "The Schumer Test." It goes something like this: If you're a Republican and Chuck Schumer is happy, then it's likely not a good day.

Ask AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka about the climate for unions on this Labor Day weekend, and he starts with something positive: a new Gallup poll showing public support for unions at its highest point since 2003.

"There's much more excitement about unions," Trumka says during an interview in his Washington, D.C., office just across Lafayette Square Park and with a view of the White House. He adds that, "over 61 percent of the people in the country support unions."

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka has a tough assessment of what it's been like trying to work with the White House on manufacturing, trade and other issues that helped lure many union members to vote for President Trump in November.

Speaking at a breakfast event in Washington, D.C., Wednesday hosted by the Christian Science Monitor, Trumka said any hopes for progress ran up against another ugly reality at the White House: warring factions within the West Wing, battling for influence with the president.

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My job — for years now — has been NPR national political correspondent. I spend lots of time on the road. Chasing candidates, certainly, but also sitting down to have conversations — some long, some short — with voters.

Last week, a milestone.

While in Wyoming, on a visit with our colleagues at Wyoming Public Media, I checked off number 50 on the list of states I've been to. Fifty. I've actually spent time in all of them now. Not just changing planes at the airport.

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We are coming to you this weekend from Detroit from member station WDET. We came because 50 years ago, parts of this city went up in flames.

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