JLC Statement on Nomination of Puzder for Secretary of Labor

Jewish Labor Committee Opposes the Nomination of CKE Restaurants CEO Andy Puzder to be the United States Secretary of Labor

December 22, 2016 New York, NY

The Jewish Labor Committee opposes the nomination of CKE Restaurants CEO Andy Puzder to be the United States Secretary of Labor, as proposed by President-elect Donald Trump. It is unprecedented to appoint a corporate chief executive officer to this position, especially one who in his public statements, in the sexist advertising promoted by his company, and in his numerous writings has made clear he opposes most of the laws he will be sworn to enforce. A man who makes $17,912 in a day and who argues against a raise for minimum wage workers is not an acceptable Secretary of Labor.

Mr. Puzder has been CEO of a company which has been cited repeatedly for violations of our nation’s employment and safety laws. That alone should automatically disqualify him from becoming Secretary of Labor. When the Department of Labor conducted investigations of the 20 largest fast food brands, more than half of the CKE-affiliated restaurants investigated were found to have at least one wage and hours violation. The company admits in filings to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that it faces multiple class action lawsuits over violations of wage and hour laws. Since Mr. Puzder took over as CKE CEO in 2000, the company has been cited 98 times for safety violations, including 36 classified as “serious”, meaning risking death or grave physical harm to employees. Christine Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project, has argued that it is “hard to think of anyone less suited for the job” and we agree that a CEO whose company has such a record of rampant violations of the law is not a credible enforcer of labor and employment laws against other employers.

On policy, Mr. Puzder has been an outspoken opponent of government taking action to help raise wages of low-income workers, including opposing expanding coverage of overtime rules and raising the minimum wage. We are deeply concerned that Mr. Puzder has publicly promoted predictions of job loss in cities and states that have raised the minimum wage, but seems to refuse to adjust his views now that those predictions of job loss have proven false in cities and states with higher minimum wages such as New York and California. There is no place for such a rigid anti-worker ideologue in the position of Secretary of Labor.

We ask the United States Senate to reject this nomination when it is asked to deliberate on it early in 2017.

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