Labor Secretary Nominee Hit With 33 Labor-Violation Charges

Dave Johnson

Andy Puzder, CEO offast-food giant CKE Restaurants (Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr), is President Trump’s nominee to be Secretary of Labor. As one more Ayn Rand devotee nominated to Trump’s cabinet, his mission is clear: to spearhead Trump’s War on Workers.

December’s post, Trump Labor Secretary Nominee Sees People As Throw-Away Commodities, explains the many ways this is a dangerous, anti-worker nominee,

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.”

… 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.

33 Anti-Worker Charges Against Puzder’s Company

The company run by the nominee for Secretary of Labor, the department with the mission of promoting rights and higher wages for working people, was hit this week with 33 anti-worker charges. Ethan Wolff-Mann, reporting at Yahoo Finance Thursday, explains in, 33 labor complaints just dropped in front of Trump’s labor secretary pick,

This week, current and former workers have filed 33 complaints in 10 states: Alabama, California, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Texas, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. Of the complaints, 22 are regarding wage and hour issues, like wage theft and manipulated overtime, 7 are unfair labor practice complaints, and 4 are sexual harassment charges.

Bryce Covert at ThinkProgress has more, in Charges filed against Trump’s labor secretary pick’s company over wage theft and sexual harassment,

Their suits include four allegations of sexual harassment, which were filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; 22 complaints of wage and hour violations, which were filed with state departments of labor; and seven unfair labor practices charges, filed with the National Labor Relations Board. They were filed across ten states, including Alabama, California, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia.

[. . .] The complaints also allege that employees were threatened, intimidated, and illegally surveilled. Fight for 15 claims to have obtained an internal memofrom corporate to franchisees outlining a company policy that workers are not allowed to speak to the press “or any individual asking questions about our operations,” adding, “The press is NOT our friend!” It’s unclear when the memo was sent or who it came from, other than a signature reading Julie.

… CKE Restaurants already has a track record of being sued over workers’ complaints about illegal practices. A review of federal and state court documents and Labor Department inspections by ThinkProgress found that employees have sued the company over discrimination, filed class action lawsuits alleging they were denied overtime pay, and claimed that they were fired for protesting. In fact, an investigation by Capital & Main found that the company was hit with more federal racial discrimination and sexual harassment lawsuits than any other major hamburger chain in the country since Puzder became CEO in 2000.

Women Are Meat

Puzder is the CEO of CKE Restaurants, the parent company of Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. restaurants. You know Carl’s Jr., that fast-food chain that advertises women are meat:

Now the “women are meat” guy is accused of running a fast-food chain that sexually harasses women. Big surprise. From the Think Progress report,

“Several months ago my shift-manager asked me for a kiss, and when I said no he told me that unless I started giving him what he wanted, he was going to start taking it,” said Ceatana Cardona, one of the Hardee’s workers involved in the complaints from Tampa, FL, in a statement. But she said the company did nothing when she complained. Another homosexual male Carl’s Jr. worker in Oakland, CA, described being harassed by his manager, who told his coworkers and customers that he “likes boys” and used a feminized version of his name.

More from the Yahoo Finance report,

The sexual harassment charges, whose allegations include threats of sexual violence and multiple instances of retaliation, like moving the reporting employee to a less-desirable shift after they complained to HR, have been filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.The labor practices complaints have been filed with the National Labor Relations Board. The wage and hour complaints, however, have been mostly filed with the Department of Labor, the agency CKE’s CEO Puzder would be heading, which has a Wage and Hour division.

The report includes the stories of some of the chains’ workers,

On a call with the members of the press organized by members of the Fight for 15 group and the National Employment Law Project, former workers spoke of intimidation, wage theft, and sexual harassment and retaliation. One Los Angeles worker at Carl’s Jr. named Ivan Nava said his manager moved his shifts to coincide with this college classes after she learned he had begun organizing to raise the minimum wage.

Another,

In Birmingham, Ala., Torrence Chambers, a worker who found himself performing a wide variety of jobs described being paid via debit card, which after fees left him earning below state’s minimum wage of $7.25, and at the federal lower limit. This has not been an uncommon issue with other restaurant chains, such as Darden Restaurants.

Cheating Workers Costs Taxpayers

This week, the National Employment Law Project (NELP) released a report showing how Puzder’s business practices force taxpayers to pick up a $250 million tab a year. According to the report, “To offset poverty wages, taxpayer-funded safety-net programs subsidize CKE to the tune of approximately $247 million a year.”

Hearing Delayed

Meanwhile Puzder’s confirmation hearing has been delayed until February 7. He has failed to provide the required paperwork to the committee. Allied Progress Executive Director Karl Frisch sent out a statement on this:

“What’s the holdup? Either the rumors are true that Mr. Puzder is no longer interested in the position, or there is a significant vetting issue.” Frisch continued: “It’s long past time for Mr. Puzder to deliver on his commitment to file paperwork with the Senate and let the American people know what issues are causing so many headaches for the Trump administration. We already know of systematic labor violations at his company, misogynistic policies – and other deeply personal issues. It’s clear that whatever Puzder and Trump are hiding, it must be worse than what we already know.”

Ayn Rand

In December the Washington Post published The Daily 202: Ayn Rand-acolyte Donald Trump stacks his cabinet with fellow objectivists. From that report,

Andy Puzder, tapped by Trump last week to be secretary of labor, is an avid and outspoken fan of Rand’s books. One profiler last week asked what he does in his free time, and a friend replied that he reads Ayn Rand. He is the CEO of CKE Restaurants, which is owned by Roark Capital Group, a private equity fund named after Howard Roark. Puzder, who opposes increases in the minimum wage and wants to automate fast food jobs, was quoted just last month saying that he encouraged his six children to read “Fountainhead” first and “Atlas Shrugged” later.

The 2011 post, Concern Over Republican Embrace Of The Ayn Rand Poison, explains why Rand’s philosophy of cruelty matters,

Some say that maybe it is a bad idea to base a political party’s ideology on a belief that altruism, democracy and Christianity are “evil.” Others say that maybe it is a bad idea to base a country’s policies on fictional novels rather than science and history. Still others say is it a bad idea for national leaders to think of most of the public as “parasites” while saying people with tons of cash are “producers” who should govern. I am talking about the Republican Party’s embrace of Ayn Rand and her cruel philosophy.

… Rand believed that a lot of things most of us use as our moral base are “evil.” But Rand’s writings are the origins of modern Republican philosophy. In Alan Greenspan And Things Forgotten I wrote about the origins of this philosophy:

Early in her writings Rand became fascinated with a serial killer named William Hickman. Rand wrote that the serial killer was an “ideal man,” a superior form of human because he didn’t let society impose their morals on him. He didn’t worry about what others thought and just did as he pleased.

“Other people do not exist for him, and he does not see why they should,” Rand wrote. Hickman had “no regard whatsoever for all that society holds sacred, and with a consciousness all his own. He has the true, innate psychology of a Superman. He can never realize and feel ‘other people.’” She considered these to be good qualities! And so does her cult.

Rand’s philosophy that a few wealthy people are the rightful rulers and the rest of us are “losers” has no place in our government. Pudzer’s embrace of that philosophy and the resulting anti-worker treatment of working people as throwaway commodities makes him unfit to run our Department of Labor.

PS Really, this kind of objectification does not show respect for women as human beings:

Get updates in your inbox

Comments