Elizabeth Warren Chews Up Trump's Labor Pick in Front of His Fast-Food Employees
Elizabeth Warren couldn't wait until Andrew Puzder's confirmation hearing to let the public know just how disastrous a pick he'd be for labor secretary. During a workers forum Thursday, she let her voice be heard, in front of Puzder's Carl's Jr. and Hardee's employees.
"If you work for a living, this man is important to you," Warren began her address. "The secretary of labor is responsible for protecting the interests of 150 million American workers. He will be the person responsible for enforcing the laws that ensure that employers actually pay workers for every hour that they work, and setting standards to prevent workplace injuries and death."
Puzder is the CEO of the billion-dollar company CKE Restaurants. He's also a staunch opponent of the Fight for 15 movement and blames President Obama for a "government-mandated restaurant recession."
"Unfortunately, Mr. Puzder is not the kind of American, person, that workers can trust to stand up for them," Warren concluded.
"Carl's Jr. and Hardee's... are known for paying low wages to their workers. Mr. Puzder also has a long record of cheating workers out of overtime, and he has paid out millions of dollars to settle claims when he was caught cheating."
A survey of 550 Carl's Jr and Hardee's employees released this month by the Restaurant Opportunities Coalition United found a third of respondents said they were illegally forced to work extra hours without pay. Another third reported having overtime go unpaid or failing to receive breaks required by law. Seventy-nine percent admitted working sick either because they couldn't get the day off or because they needed the money, while over half experienced unwanted sexual advances on the job.
"These are not isolated incidences," hammered Warren. "They reflect the kind of business that Mr. Puzder has built."
Warren had asked the Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee to include Mr. Puzder's workers in his confirmation hearing, but he denied her request.
"We had no choice but to hold today's forum ourselves," she said.
She then introduced Laura McDonald, an activist and former employee of Carl's Jr in Arizona.
"Laura McDonald worked as a general manager at Carl's Jr in Tucson, Arizona for 20 years," announced Warren. "For years, she was forced to work extra hours without pay. Employees like Laura are the subject of a major lawsuit against Mr. Puzder's company regarding unpaid overtime."
"CKE avoided paying overtime by setting our hourly wages so low that we didn't make anything extra working more than 40 hours a week," McDonald said.
Watch the forum below: