Following testimony in front of 17 senators who heard from employees detailing Secretary of Labor nominee Andrew Puzder’s history of worker mistreatment and abuse, Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren sent a 28-page letter with 83 pointed questions to Pudzer demanding answers about how he will protect 150 million American workers, their paychecks, their ability to build financial security, and health and safety.
Senator Warren wants to know how Puzder will address Department of Labor (DOL) issues country-wide when, he as CEO of CKE Restaurants, the parent company of Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr., made his fortune by squeezing the workers he’d now be charged with protecting.
Puzder has been accused of violating minimum wage laws and other vital protections for workers and families. As leader of the fast-food chain, his company has a prolific history of labor and discrimination suits. He has been accused of exploiting women in racy television advertisements, failing to pay workers proper wages; he hired an illegal immigrant to be his housekeeper and there have been accusations of abuse from his ex-wife in divorce proceedings.
Senator Warren wrote, “Your company’s record of prolific labor law abuses and discrimination suits – the most of any major burger chain – gives me great pause given that as Labor Secretary you’d be charged with enforcing these laws. Further, the painful first-hand accounts of these abuses by the workers in your company and its franchises that have surfaced since your nomination (including three accounts from workers I heard from in person at a public forum) should sound an alarm for every member of the committee and the Senate.” And continued: “In addition to your role as CEO at CKE, your long record of public comments reveals a sneering contempt for the workers in your stores, and a vehement opposition to the laws you will be charged with enforcing.”
The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee is scheduled to review Puzder’s nomination on Thursday, a hearing which has been delayed five times.