CNN • Christine Owens
It’s hard to think of anyone less suited for the job of lifting up forgotten workers than Puzder, a billionaire CEO who vocally opposes any meaningful increase in the minimum wage, who talks glibly about replacing workers with machines, and who consistently attacks rules that protect both workers and law-abiding employers.
President-elect Trump campaigned as the champion of workers, but giving the fox the keys to the hen house — as the expected Puzder nomination does — is hardly the way uphold the Labor Department’s stated mission “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.”
The contradiction is extreme: Opposition to workers’ rights is bread and butter for Puzder. In his new role, Puzder would lead a team tasked with ensuring that employers adhere to basic labor standards. Meanwhile, Puzder’s company, CKE Restaurants, parent company of the fast-food chains Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, among others, has been the target of class-action lawsuits alleging failure to fairly compensate managers for overtime.
And those suits may be the tip of the iceberg: When the current Labor Department conducted 4,000 investigations into the 20 largest fast-food brands, over half of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s restaurants had at least one wage-and-hour violation.