Trump Labor Secretary Nominee Sees People As Throw-Away Commodities

Dave Johnson

“As we have learned before, when we are under attack, together we must stand up and fight back.” – Larry Cohen

Before we accept the threatened destruction of our government as “normal” or “just politics,” here is something to think about. Our government is supposed to work for us, We the People, for our benefit, to make our lives better.

Take the Department of Labor. The mission of the Department is “To foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.”

Think about that. We once had a government with a mission to work for We the People, helping us get better jobs, better wages and better working conditions. Toward this end, a cabinet-level department was created “in the interest of the wage earners”.

Under Trump, Not So Much

So the Department of Labor is supposed to work to help people have better jobs with better wages and better benefits.

Donald Trump has nominated Andy Puzder to be the Secretary of Labor. Puzder is the CEO of CKE Restaurants, the parent company of Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. restaurants. You know Carl’s Jr., that chain that advertises women are meat:

Andy Puzder is against raising the minimum wage. He opposes the new overtime rule requiring companies to pay overtime to employees making less than $47,476 per year when they work more than 40 hours. Puzder even opposes meal and rest breaks for workers.

Another woe for Puzder is the rest and meal break requirements, which say employees can’t work more than five hours without an off-duty 30-minute meal break, or more than four hours without a 10-minute break.

Puzder even advocates replacing workers with machines to keep these “costs” down. Contrasting robots with human beings who work in his chain, Puzder praises the robots, “They’re always polite, they always upsell, 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,” says Puzder of swapping employees for machines.

Apparently, Andy Puzder understands women as objects and working people — human beings — as throw-away commodities and “costs” to be reduced. His selection doesn’t signal good times ahead for us humans under a Trump administration.

But wait, there’s more. In keeping with the Trumpian way, Puzder as Labor Secretary would have an immediate conflict of interest. Puzder’s chain has a record of labor-law violations; the Labor Department makes rules for how his business relates to its workforce. In Labor Department investigations of his chain since 2009, CKE restaurants and franchises were found to have violated wage and hour laws 60 percent of the time. So under Puzder the labor violations and the harm they did won’t go away, but the worker-protection rules his chain broke will.

For more details on Puzder, CAP Action, in Resist Andrew Puzder’s Nomination for Secretary of Labor gives the “Top 11 Reasons to Resist Andrew Puzder’s Nomination”.

Obviously this nominee foreshadows an administration-wide attack on working people — and the rest of us pesky humans.

Fight Back

We can fight back. The way to stop Trump’s attack on working people is with public pressure from We the People. We can put pressure on our senators not to approve his nominees. We can put pressure on the press to expose this (and other) nominee’s conflicts. We can put pressure on the Congress to reverse things Puzder does if he does become Labor Secretary.

For example, Larry Cohen, writing in the Guardian, urges labor to organize to fight Trump and Puzder, in Donald Trump is bullying unions. He picked the wrong fight,

Puzder is affiliated with the conservative American Enterprise Institute, and his career is all about extracting profits from fast-food workers wrapped in the ideological cloak of deregulation.

[. . .] Trump is like a Goliath of great wealth and political power. At times, he might toss gifts to the masses like a 19th-century monarch, but his strategy of attacking and dividing working families will clearly lead to net losses for them and big gains for corporate management at multinationals like UT.

Cohen concludes saying we need to build “army of resistance and create a vision of the future based on unity not hatred. As we have learned before, when we are under attack, together we must stand up and fight back.”

On Twitter follow and use #AntiLaborSecretary

Because human beings should not be treated as objects or commodities.

Get updates in your inbox

Comments