Trump’s Pick for Secretary of Labor, Andrew Puzder:
Enemy of the Minimum Wage and Workplace Regulations
January 18, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
The supposed mission of the federal Department of Labor is: “To foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.” Trump’s nominee for secretary of this department is Andrew Puzder, a champion of unrestrained exploitation of workers by the capitalists, free of government regulations.
Puzder is the CEO of CKE Restaurants, the corporation that runs the fast food chains Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. This man exudes contempt for workers. His first memo as CEO of Hardee’s had this line: “No more people behind the counter unless they have all their teeth.” When California raised the minimum wage to $15 an hour, Puzder said, “How do you pay somebody $15 an hour to scoop ice cream? How good could you be at scooping ice cream?” He’s doesn’t think workers should take breaks and ridiculed California’s law mandating them: “Have you ever been to a fast food restaurant and the employees are sitting and you’re wondering, ‘Why are they sitting?’ They are on what is called a mandatory break [emphasis his].”
The Trump transition team told the New York Times: “Andy Puzder has firsthand experience saving and creating thousands of jobs, and he has an extensive record of fighting for workers. As secretary of labor, he will be able to apply his business successes in a way that will benefit all Americans—growing wages and creating opportunity.” The reality? Puzder is all for discarding working people and replacing them with machines: “They’re always polite, they always upsell, they never take a vacation, they never show up late, there’s never a slip-and-fall, or an age, sex, or race discrimination case.”
Puzder became CEO of CKE Restaurants in 2000. Since then, the Department of Labor—the department that he’s nominated to head—found wage violations at more than half of Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. locations that it investigated. According to the Daily Beast website, the company has “been accused of discriminating against a female applicant with a disability; having general managers ‘on call 24 hours a day’ without overtime pay; failing to reimburse general managers for work-related expenses; allowing a work environment in which sexual harassment was permitted; and being a workplace that did not provide sufficient safety gear to prevent severe burns during cooking.” He is against the rules requiring paid sick leave for federal contractors and making more people eligible for overtime pay. He calls the Affordable Care Act a “government-mandated restaurant recession,” saying that rising premiums mean people have less money to spend eating out.
Puzder fits right in with the blatant misogyny characterizing Trump’s “Legion of Doom”—his group of advisors and cabinet nominees. He’s a long-time proponent of overturning the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion. As a lawyer in the 1980s, Puzder helped write a Missouri law that restricted abortion—which was upheld in the 1989 Webster v. Reproductive Health Services Supreme Court decision that opened the way for states to impose significantly more limits on Roe v. Wade.
Puzder oversaw a series of pornographic Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s commercials—including one showing three models in bikinis and a “bacon three-way burger.” His defense of the ad: “I like beautiful women eating burgers in bikinis. I think it’s very American.... but I think this one ... kind of did take on my personality.” Puzder said that working with Trump’s team “would be ... the most fun you could have with your clothes on”—showing he is perfectly compatible with the disgusting cabal headed by a man who brags about sexually assaulting women.
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