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Murray: Labor pick is ‘uniquely unqualified’

U.S. Senator said Labor Secretary nominee Andrew Puzder’s dismissive comments about workers, revelations about unpaid taxes, and multiple potential conflicts of interest have “compromised” his potential role in Cabinet.


WASHINGTON, D.C. (Feb. 10, 2017) — U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), top Democrat on the Senate labor committee, held a press conference in the U.S. Capitol on Thursday with fast-food workers and advocates to highlight the many disqualifying aspects of the record of Andrew Puzder, President Trump’s nominee for U.S. Secretary of Labor.

Murray said that Puzder’s history of squeezing workers as the CEO of CKE Restaurants and his steady opposition to policies that would help workers, such as increasing the minimum wage and expanding overtime pay, raise serious questions about his ability to lead the U.S. Department of Labor.

“Puzder has spoken out against raising the minimum wage and against efforts to help more workers get overtime pay,” Murray said. “He thinks robots would be more convenient for employers than actual workers, because robots never get sick or need a lunch break. And Mr. Puzder’s vocal defense of his deeply offensive ads — and so much more about his background — raise serious questions in my mind about his ability to represent the rights of women in the workplace, as any Secretary of Labor absolutely must be able to do.”

Sen. Murray was joined at Thursday’s press conference by Angel, a worker at one of Puzder’s restaurants, who said: “If Puzder doesn’t care about workers at Carl’s Jr. or Hardee’s, why do we think he’ll look out for workers in America?”

Last month, Sens. Murray and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) released a report documenting worker mistreatment at chain restaurants operated by CKE, and hosted a Senate forum where workers shared stories of lost wages, overtime violations, and poor working conditions.

“Workers like Angel have told absolutely horrific stories of lost wages, overtime violations, harassment, and more at chain restaurants Puzder oversaw at CKE — the kinds of issues that if confirmed, he’ll be responsible for investigating,” Murray said. “All of this adds up to a nominee for Secretary of Labor who is uniquely unqualified.”

After several delays, Senate Republicans have scheduled Puzder’s nomination hearing for next week — Thursday, Feb. 16 at 7 a.m. PST.

Murray added:

“This week, we learned that for years, President Trump’s selection for the Department of Labor admitted that he failed to pay taxes on a worker he employed. And he only chose to pay those taxes once he had the chance to be part of the Trump Cabinet. To me, it is shocking that a nominee for this critical position would flout these rules so openly — overlooking the same responsibilities that business owners nationwide manage to uphold. So I agree with Senator (Chuck) Schumer that not only is Andrew Puzder uniquely unqualified — but his decision to pick and choose what laws he himself follows is disqualifying. There simply should not be one set of rules for the Trump Cabinet and another for everyone else.

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