Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel • Astar Herndon

Wisconsin working women and our families saw important gains over the past eight years. While we have more to do to achieve full equity and economic security, President Donald Trump’s pick for secretary of labor, Andrew Puzder, will only take us backward, something none of our families can afford.

During Puzder’s 16 years as CEO of CKE Restaurants (the parent company of Hardee’s and Carl Jr’s,), the company has committed numerous violations of wage and hour and safety laws enforced by the Department of Labor.

Puzder has attacked policies that would raise wages for women and people of color and close the gender and race pay gaps, including raising the minimum wage and extending overtime protections.

Low-wage workers are least likely to have paid sick days and paid family and medical leave — despite the fact that they are the ones who need them most. That’s why 9to5 Wisconsin is leading work on the Wisconsin Family and Medical Leave Insurance Act, a bill that would provide partial wage replacement for workers who need to care for their own or a family member’s serious illness, childbirth or adoption.

Says Nancy Yarborough, a 9to5 member from Milwaukee, “Before my mother passed away, she struggled through two heart attacks and many strokes. My family went back and forth to her bedside, never sure when we would be saying our final goodbye. My job was covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act, but I’d never had to use it before. I was shocked to learn FMLA didn’t cover me with any pay.”

In a recent survey of CKE workers, 79% of respondents said they had served or prepared food while sick. Yet Puzder staunchly opposes measures that allow workers to earn paid sick days and paid family and medical leave insurance.

Puzder has made demeaning comments about women, and his company has a record of sexual harassment and sex discrimination complaints. Two-thirds of female survey respondents from Puzder’s restaurants said they experienced sexual harassment at work, higher than the industry average.

Puzder’s reckless and cavalier attitude toward the serious issues facing American workers should disqualify him from consideration as secretary of labor.

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