Washington, D.C. -- Following is a statement by President Chris Shelton, Communications Workers of America:
Andy Puzder, the CEO of CKE Restaurants, would be a fine choice to head a government agency responsible for looking out for millionaires.
But Puzder has a record of public statements and action that demonstrates why he is a poor choice to head the agency responsible for promoting “the welfare of wage earners, job seekers and retirees.” The Department of Labor is supposed to be on the side of working people when it comes to keeping jobs safe, stopping employer abuse and safeguarding workers’ rights on the job. That’s what working people need.
Instead, Puzder opposes many of the policies and programs he would administer. He opposes the Department of Labor’s overtime rule and actually claimed that what workers “lose in overtime pay they gain in stature and sense of accomplishment.”
He objects to efforts to increase the minimum wage. He thinks government support programs for low-wage workers – like those who work at his own restaurant franchises – are a disincentive to work, despite the fact that many fast food and retail workers’ wages are so low that they qualify for food stamps, public housing assistance and Medicaid. He fails to realize that it is low-wage employers-- like him -- who are the cause of workers living in poverty.
Puzder’s record provides a troubling roadmap as to what he would attempt – or choose to ignore -- as Secretary of Labor.
My union and the entire labor movement are more committed than ever to fight employer wage theft, make sure workers can be safe on their jobs, stand up against poverty-level wages and challenge employer abuse. We will be the advocates that working people need because, sadly, it’s clear that help won’t be coming from the Department of Labor.