Never mind workers’ rights; Labor nominee doesn’t believe in workers

December 11, 2016

Photo credit: © Getty Images

Photo credit: © Getty Images

By John A. Logan

It appears that Andy Puzder, President-elect Donald Trump’s choice to head the Department of Labor (DOL), doesn’t believe in workers, let alone workers’ rights.

Puzder, the CEO of CKE Restaurants, Inc., which owns Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. burger chains, has said on the worker-free restaurant: “[Machines are] 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.”

No wage demands, requests for holidays or fear of racial discrimination or sexual harassment lawsuits, just polite upselling — machines are apparently Puzder’s ideal employee, although not exactly consistent with Trump’s claim that he will function as a “job creator.”

But it’s not only Puzder’s cavalier statement on replacing American workers with machines that gives cause for concern. His extreme anti-worker record on wage theft, overtime pay, minimum wage, gender equality and violations of workers’ rights is equally troubling.

Wage theft and wage-and-hour compliance: One critically important division of the Labor Department, the Wage and Hour Division, has primary responsibility for cases of wage theft (i.e., the denial of wages that employees are rightfully owned).

The fast-food industry is one of the nation’s worst violators of wage-and-hour laws, and it turns out that Puzder runs a company that has been accused of committing wage theft. Store managers in California, for example, are currently involved in a wage-and-hour class-action lawsuit against CKE Restaurants.

Even with this inside knowledge of the issue, it seems unlikely that Puzder will take a strong line on egregious violators in fast food and other low-wage industries. The Obama DOL has conducted almost 4,000 investigations at the nation’s 20 largest fast-food companies. It found evidence of more than 68,000 violations and recovered $14 million in wages for approximately 57,000 workers.

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[Source]: The Hill

Last modified: April 27, 2017

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