Amy Goodman and Denis Moynihan:
For the past 16 years, Puzder has been the CEO of CKE Restaurants, which owns the fast-food chains Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. As CEO, Puzder has campaigned against the very labor laws and regulations that he would be trusted to enforce as labor secretary. Under Puzder, CKE was a poster child of fast-food-restaurant labor-law violations, with workers regularly suffering wage theft and sexual harassment. Carl’s Jr. advertisements employed hypersexualized imagery and the objectification of women, which many felt contributed to the persistent harassment at his restaurants.
Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC) conducted a survey of CKE employees immediately after Puzder’s nomination in December. ROC was founded by restaurant workers in New York City following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The group fights for better wages and working conditions for restaurant employees, and has grown to 18,000 members in 15 states. The survey found: 66 percent of women at CKE Restaurants reported experiencing unwanted sexual behaviors at work, compared with 40 percent of women in the fast-food industry overall. Twenty-eight percent of respondents worked off the clock, and approximately one-third reported wage-theft violations, including not receiving required breaks and overtime pay. Seventy-nine percent of CKE Restaurants workers also reported that they have prepared or served food while sick, the highest rate that ROC has ever encountered.
Puzder is opposed to the minimum wage, the fight for $15/hour, paid sick leave and the Affordable Care Act. He told Business Insider almost a year ago that he favored replacing workers with robots: “They’re 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.”