Thousands of fast-food workers took the Fight for 15 to Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s restaurants across the country yesterday, protesting Trump’s nomination of CEO Andy Puzder for Labor Secretary in 26 cities.
It’s not hard to see why restaurant workers would be worried about Puzder getting to the White House: He’s been vocal about opposing minimum wage hikes, paid sick leave, and the Affordable Care Act, and spoken out against Obama’s plan to extend overtime pay to underpaid salaried restaurant managers (which has since been struck down by a federal judge in Texas).
Puzder’s own company has a rough track record with employees, too: CKE has been the target of numerous lawsuits from workers claiming discrimination, wage violations, and safety negligence. A recently released report from nonprofit workers organization ROC United surveyed more than 500 CKE employees and found that two-thirds of the women reported facing sexual harassment at work, which perhaps isn’t so surprising from a company known for commercials featuring scantily-clad women chowing down on burgers.
Yesterday in LA, protesters carried a banner that read “Puzder gets rich by keeping his employees poor”:
In Boston, protesters gathered outside City Hall to protest Puzder’s nomination:
In Santa Clara, California workers carried signs reading “Puzder Cheats”:
A crowd gathered outside a Hardee’s in Durham, North Carolina:
And then there’s the broader issue of appointing a restaurant group CEO to oversee the main entity charged with regulating the very industry from which he’s earned his fortune. As Labor Secretary, Puzder would be tasked with upholding the numerous labor laws that his own company has broken in previous years. A Fight for 15 organizer told The American Prospect, “Puzder as Labor Secretary is like putting Bernie Madoff in charge of the Treasury.”
CKE declined a request for an official statement.