East Bay Times • Kate O’Hara & Josie Camacho
Over the last four years, the East Bay has been at the epicenter of lifting up low-wage working people. We’ve voted by overwhelming margins to raise wages. We just assume that everyone should have paid sick days. And we support fair scheduling so people can budget and plan for child care, education, second jobs and even rest.
Led by East Bay workers, we’ve set the pace for the nation and many other cities and states have followed suit. What’s more is that we have helped to shift the country’s public debate around low-wage jobs. The Bay Area belief that all work is valuable and all people deserve to have their basic needs met has become the national trend to help drive policies that benefit those who struggle to get by.
But all the progress we’ve made stands to be undermined with Donald Trump’s pick of fast-food mogul Andrew Puzder to be our secretary of labor. As CEO of Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr., Puzder has demonstrated outright hostility to workers and opposes even the most basic policies that help working people live better lives.
To be clear, the purpose of the Department of Labor is “to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners of the United States, to improve their working conditions, and to advance their opportunities for profitable employment.”
Puzder staunchly opposes the economic agenda demanded by millions of voters to raise the minimum wage and provide paid sick days. He believes some working people and “some jobs don’t produce enough economic value to bear the increase.” Yet, he earns more in a day than what the average minimum-wage earner makes in a year.