The fight’s not over yet:
With Puzder out, we must continue to hold Donald Trump accountable to nominate a morally accountable Labor Secretary who will protect workers and raise wages.
We organized, resisted, and communicated our values to defeat Andrew Puzder, but Donald Trump’s assault on working Americans is far from over. Trump’s campaign focused on American workers, but he hand-picked a cabinet with a history of enriching themselves at the expense of working men and women. I have no doubt his next nominee will continue this trend full steam ahead.
Democrats have a long history of standing up on behalf of working Americans, and it’s more important than ever that we continue to fight for our values. Whether it’s pushing for a $15 minimum wage, expanded overtime pay, or basic workplace protections, the Democratic Party is the party of working people, and I’ve dedicated my life to fighting for the progress workers deserve. At DOL, I led federal action that raised wages and extended overtime protections to millions of home health care workers. We also raised the minimum wage for millions of workers on federal contracts. And I crisscrossed the country to highlight and applaud the extraordinary progress states and localities were making in ensuring workers were paid fairly.
I was motivated by the people I met every day who were striving for opportunity: The fast food worker in Detroit who got paid so little that she and her three kids had to sleep in their car because they’d been evicted from their apartment. The baggage handler in New Jersey who couldn’t afford to buy his son a birthday gift, and the airport workers striking for better wages at DCA. The school bus driver in Connecticut who had to take her baby on her route because she didn’t have paid family leave. The home health aide in Colorado who works 84 hours yet barely makes ends meet. And the members of Fight for $15, who started out as just a hundred fast food workers in New York City, and have now achieved dozens of victories across the country. When I think about them today, I am reminded that too much is at stake to stop fighting now.
I also believe grassroots momentum is on our side, in part because I’ve seen it first hand. In 2015, I went to Seattle and met with Mayor Ed Murray and supportive business leaders when they implemented their $15 by 2021 law. I travelled to Connecticut with President Obama in 2014 to highlight state successes in New England. And I talked with business leaders, nonprofits, and labor leaders in Denver about why a higher minimum wage is not just the right thing to do, but the smart thing.
I’ve also spoken out against state legislatures undermining local control, like in Birmingham, Alabama, and Miami, Florida, where Republican leaders have tried to block the will of the people after those cities voted to raise the minimum wage. We need to keep advocating for efforts at the federal level, but also push back when states try to undermine progress at the local level.
With Puzder out of the running, one obstacle to furthering our party’s core values may be removed, but many more remain. And now, more than ever, we need a DNC united in our fight to raise wages and protect working families across the country.