The UAW launched its campaign against NAFTA months before it narrowly won congressional approval in 1994 with support from a coalition that included a majority of Republicans as well as West Coast Democrats. Over the past quarter-century, the UAW has continued to attack NAFTA and probably helped lay the groundwork for Trump’s attack this year, Williams acknowledges.

“We have always been very critical about trade agreements that did not protect American jobs, and American workers, and have been very vocal on it and very tough on it,” he says.

Williams says Clinton promised to him during the Democratic National Convention that she would reopen discussion of NAFTA. Yet Trump had greater success leveraging the trade issue in Rust Belt states such as Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, where Clinton was outpolled by a little more than 100,000 votes combined.

“It was a message that was resonating with our members,” Williams says.

Clinton also failed to capitalize on positive accomplishments such as the government bailouts of General Motors and the former Chrysler Group, which ultimately saved thousands of jobs throughout the Rust Belt, he notes.

On the issue of regulation, Williams cautions GM, Ford and Chrysler successor FCA, which employ UAW members, against rushing to roll back fuel-economy standards set by the Obama Admin.

“They’ve got to invest in efficiency. If they don’t, somebody else will, and there goes their market,” Williams says. “There is a public out there that is very conscious of the environment,” he says, noting young consumers’ attitudes in particular.

“I would caution the auto industry not to repeat the mistakes of the past.”

Williams also is waiting to see if Trump’s choice for Secretary of Labor will reflect the billionaire real-estate developer has turned Republican orthodoxy upside-down on a number of issues. But he promises a fight if House or Senate GOP members attack organized labor.

“If they target any trade union or any group, we’re prepared to take on anybody,” Williams says. “We’re not going to back down.

“We’re going to protect our traditional values and we’ll try to raise the awareness of organized labor in this country and around the world. We’re not going to change who we are as a union.”