6 Reasons Andy Puzder is Bad for Working Women

Photo by Gage Skidmore

His Record is Shady

As CEO for CKE Restaurants, owner of fast food chains Carl’s Jr. & Hardees, Puzder has overseen practices like reportedly stiffing workers of their wages and ignoring mandated meal and work breaks. Republicans blocked a request from the Democrats for former employees to be witnesses at Puzder’s upcoming confirmation hearing. However, at a “shadow hearing” held by Senate Democrats, former employee Laura McDonald stated plainly that she often “worked without pay.” Department of Labor investigations have found wage and hour law violations in about 60 percent of the company’s franchises.

He Opposes Even a Nominal Raise in the Minimum Wage

Photo Credit: Fibonacci Blue

We all know that it is impossible to afford the basics of life on the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. But that’s not enough to sway Puzder. Though a public disclosure by CKE in 2012 showed he got paid over $4 million in compensation that year, he wrote an op-ed in 2014 decrying President Obama’s push for the federal minimum wage to be raised to $10.10. His argument was that the workers who keep his restaurants running day in and day out didn’t contribute enough to the restaurants’ profits to warrant a living wage. The majority of minimum wage earners are adults — many of whom are the main breadwinners for their household —but according to Puzder, it’s “relatively uncommon” for people earning minimum wage to have families to support. We’re guessing you know someone who fits that “uncommon” bill. Does Puzder sound like someone you want setting labor policy for American workers?

He Objectifies Women

Shot from a Carl’s Jr. Ad.

You’ve probably seen one of those Carl’s Jr. commercials with bikini-clad women licking cheeseburgers. Here’s what Puzder has to say about them: “I used to hear, ‘brands take on the personality of the CEO’. And I rarely thought that was true, but I think this one, in this case, it kind of did take on my personality.” How can we expect him to fight against sexual harassment and gender discrimination in the workplace when he clearly sees women as props? We’d say we hope the new President would be a balance to that harmful perspective, but we already know his reputation for objectifying women. The Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United released a survey of CKE workers that said 66 percent of female respondents had “experienced unwanted sexual behaviors at work,” a much higher rate than the industry average of 40 percent.

He Doesn’t Support Paid Sick Days

Photo Credit: Terence Ong

Despite the growing movements across the country (and victories in Chicago and Cook County) that recognize the importance of paid sick days, Puzder has a bad track record. A ROC survey of his workers found 79 percent reported that they prepared or served food while sick. Mr. Pudzer has also opposed mandatory sick leave for workers, saying it puts an undue burden on businesses. Can we afford to have more Americans sick at work?

He Doesn’t Pay Overtime

An Obama-led update to the overtime rule, moving the eligibility maximum from $23,660 to $47,000, has been stalled in the courts. Trump’s Labor Secretary pick has criticized the change in the rules and has had a problem even adhering to existing laws. According to the law firm handling a current case, CKE deliberately misclassified its general managers as being exempt from California overtime laws. Another suit alleges that Puzder’s company also refused to pay overtime wages though general managers were expected to be on call 24 hours a day. In 2004 CKE paid out $9 million to settle three class action suits regarding overtime pay.

He Prefers Robots to Human Workers

Photo Credit: S. McGarnigle

Looking for a Labor Secretary who prioritizes a strong American workforce that is full of high-quality, well-paying jobs? You won’t find that with Puzder. He’s waxed poetic about replacing workers with machines, who, according to him are “always polite, they always up-sell, 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.”

The Takeaway?

Andy Puzder should never have been nominated to head the Department of Labor. His record shows a history of undermining workers rather than supporting them. Now it’s up to us to make noise and oppose Puzder. Call your Senators — tell your friends to call too — and say No to Puzder! Need to convince someone to join the effort? Share this article with them.