The protests against secretary of labor nominee Andrew Puzder are still going strong as Fight for $15 activists insist that he is bad for America’s workers. Puzder is set to appear before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions on Thursday to make his case for leading the Department of Labor.
Puzder is currently CEO of CKE Restaurants, the company that operates the Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. restaurant chains. Yesterday (February 13), hundreds of fast-food workers descended on Hardee’s headquarters in St. Louis with a clear message: “Reject Puzder.”
“By picking Puzder, Donald Trump has shown that instead of taking on the rigged economy, he wants to rig it up even more. If Trump is going to be a president for the fast-food corporations instead of for the fast-food workers he is going to be on the wrong side of history,” Doreatha Hines, a Hardee’s cashier, said in an emailed statement. “And one thing is for sure, whether Puzder’s nomination is confirmed, denied or withdrawn: we won’t back down for one minute in our demands for $15 an hour and union rights for all working Americans.”
A 2015 study from the National Employment Law Project (NELP) concluded that 42 percent of American workers earn less than $15 per hour, with people of color and women overrepresented among those workers. Fully 96 percent of fast-food workers earn sub-$15 per hour, and 60 percent of Latino workers and more than half of all Black workers have hourly rates below $15.
The Washington Post reports that four Republicans are considering a vote against Pudzer.
The Republican senators who were noncommittal about Puzder’s nomination on Monday—Susan Collins (Maine), Johnny Isakson (Ga.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Tim Scott (S.C.)—sit on the committee that will hold his confirmation hearing Thursday. If they oppose him, his nomination is all but certainly dead….
The unenthusiastic reception from the Republican lawmakers comes after weeks of intense criticism from Democrats and liberal groups over workplace violations at Puzder’s restaurants Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr., sexually suggestive ads featuring bikini-clad models eating burgers, and his opposition to wage regulations. Puzder has also been accused of domestic abuse—an accusation that was later recanted—and has acknowledged hiring an undocumented worker for his home.
Additional actions were held yesterday in several states, including California, Illinois and Georgia. Click here to watch video from yesterday’s St. Louis protest.