Although Andrew Puzder, the fast food executive who has been named as the nominee for Secretary of Labor, has indicated that he is “looking forward” to his confirmation hearing, there are also indications that he may withdraw his name from consideration for this post. There are unnamed sources that assert that he was having second thoughts about the job and could be “bailing” due in part to the intense criticism that has come at him from many sides, e.g. labor unions.
Mr. Puzder opposes increasing the minimum wage and an expansion for overtime pay and has hard line positions on immigration. In this vein, the AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash. have requested that Puzder release documents prior to the confirmation hearing, showing the manner in which his company has treated its employees, such as contracts with CKE franchisees, employee pay and benefit data and employee handbooks. Indeed, Senator Murray called Puzder “a uniquely unqualified choice.” Mr. Trumka stated that Puzder has “used his position and authority to enrich himself at the expense of workers by violating labor laws.”
A group that supports restaurant industry workers issued an unscientific report that concluded that workers were subjected to significant wage theft while Puzder was in charge and also that many female employees were victims of sexual harassment in numbers that far exceeded the national average in this industry. The report was mentioned during the hearings held last week led by Senator Murray and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, when they heard testimony from workers relating to their experiences with many allegedly restrictive employment practices.
Puzder has also been criticized for his views on immigration. He has called the current system “unfair and unworkable.” He has stated that any such reform should include a guest worker program, as well as some channel or mechanism to “adjust status” for people in this country without authorization and “special relief” for the children of unauthorized immigrants. Interestingly, the news site Breitbart (which has been linked to white nationalists, i.e. the “alt-right”) also attacked the nominee, claiming that he “stands diametrically opposed to Trump’s signature issues on trade and immigration.”
We will see (yet again). Seems like there is an active groundswell of opposition that is shaping up that may doom this nominee.