Puzder’s nomination is a direct threat to workers’ rights
Talk about asking the fox to guard the hen house. That’s exactly what tapping fast food restaurant CEO Andrew Puzder to serve as Labor Secretary is doing — except the lives and livelihoods at stake will be those of American workers.
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) administers and enforces more than 180 laws, with mandates and regulations that cover about 10 million employers and 125 million workers. These include legal protections for workplace safety and health, minimum wages and overtime pay, and employee benefits. Nominating Puzder to lead the DOL is a direct threat to workers’ rights and a repudiation of the agency’s mission and core purpose: “To foster, promote and develop the welfare of working people, to improve their working conditions, and to enhance their opportunities for profitable employment.”
Puzder not only has been a vocal opponent of the very laws that the DOL is charged with enforcing; his businesses have been accused of repeatedly violating those laws and he has spoken with contempt for the working people the DOL is charged with protecting. He strongly opposes raising the minimum wage or expanding overtime for salaried workers – even though the salary threshold has only been updated once since the 1970s and currently is so low that workers earning less than the poverty line for a family of four may still make too much to qualify for overtime pay. Puzder also opposes family-friendly workplace policies like paid sick days and paid family leave, which are mandatory in nearly every other country in the world, and has been outspoken in his opposition to the Affordable Care Act.
And this is the same guy who has shown his disrespect for women by approving a series of sexist ads for Carl’s Jr. saying, “I like our ads. I like beautiful women eating burgers in bikinis. I think it’s very American.”
When the Secretary of Labor is unwilling to defend and promote worker-friendly laws and regulations, all working people will suffer, and women and people of color will continue to be left behind.
“Andrew Puzder’s nomination as Secretary of Labor is a slap in the face to working people across the country who are trying to make ends meet to support their families,” said Executive Director Noreen Farrell. “ERA will strongly oppose the Puzder nomination, while intensifying our ongoing efforts at both the state and federal level to guarantee workers are treated and paid fairly.”
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