News Releases

Today at a press conference in the U.S. Capitol, Sen. Murray said Labor Secretary nominee Andrew Puzder’s dismissive comments about workers, revelations about unpaid taxes, and multiple potential conflicts of interest have “compromised” his potential role in Cabinet

Puzder has described workers at his restaurants as the "best of the worst" available in the employment pool—LINK 

Report by Sens. Murray and Warren revealed shocking mistreatment of workers at Puzder’s restaurants—rock-bottom wages, no sick time, and unsafe working conditions—LINK 

Sen. Murray: “I hope Mr. Puzder will realize how compromised he would be in this role…but if he doesn’t—let me be clear: he can expect Democrats, workers, and families to continue to scrutinize his record carefully” 

(Washington, D.C.) U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), top Democrat on the Senate labor committee, today held a press conference in the U.S. Capitol with fast food workers and advocates to highlight the many disqualifying aspects of the record of Andrew Puzder, President Trump’s nominee for U.S. Secretary of Labor. Puzder’s history of squeezing workers as the CEO of CKE Restaurants and his steady opposition to policies that would help workers, such as increasing the minimum wage and expanding overtime pay, raise serious questions about his ability to lead the U.S. Department of Labor.

“Puzder has spoken out against raising the minimum wage and against efforts to help more workers get overtime pay. He thinks robots would be more convenient for employers than actual workers, because robots never get sick or need a lunch break… and Mr. Puzder’s vocal defense of his deeply offensive ads—and so much more about his background—raise serious questions in my mind about his ability to represent the rights of women in the workplace, as any Secretary of Labor absolutely must be able to do,” said Senator Murray.

Last month, Senators Murray and Warren released a report documenting worker mistreatment at chain restaurants operated by CKE, and hosted a Senate forum where workers shared stories of lost wages, overtime violations, and poor working conditions.

“Workers like Angel have told absolutely horrific stories of lost wages, overtime violations, harassment, and more at chain restaurants Puzder oversaw at CKE—the kinds of issues that if confirmed, he’ll be responsible for investigating…all of this adds up to a nominee for Secretary of Labor who is uniquely unqualified.”

Senate Republicans have scheduled Puzder’s nomination hearing for next week—Thursday, February 16 at 7:00AM PST.

Full remarks by Senator Murray at today’s press conference:

I really appreciate everyone being here today, and in particular I want to thank Angel for her willingness to come forward and share her story.

It is absolutely critical that workers’ voices be part of this process, and I’m grateful that you’ve taken the time to be here.

With so many workers still struggling today—what we really need is a Secretary of Labor who is ready to prioritize workers’ interests.

One who makes sure workers get paid what they have earned—that they are treated fairly in the workplace—and that when companies mistreat their workers, those companies are held accountable.

In fact—President Trump made a clear commitment on the campaign trail to put workers first.

So I was deeply disappointed when Andrew Puzder’s nomination was announced.

It seemed this was just the latest sign that President Trump wasn’t going to follow through on his promises.

And was instead going to rig his cabinet with the staunchest allies of Wall Street, special interests, and big corporations that he could find.

People who would stand with those at the top and put forward policies that hurt workers and families.

And unfortunately—the more we learn about Andrew Puzder’s record—the more that appears to be the case.

Puzder has spoken out against raising the minimum wage and against efforts to help more workers get overtime pay.

He thinks robots would be more convenient for employers than actual workers, because robots never get sick or need a lunch break.

Workers like Angel have told absolutely horrific stories of lost wages, overtime violations, harassment, and more at chain restaurants Puzder oversaw at CKE—the kinds of issues that if confirmed, he’ll be responsible for investigating.

And Mr. Puzder’s vocal defense of his deeply offensive ads—and so much more about his background—raise serious questions in my mind about his ability to represent the rights of women in the workplace, as any Secretary of Labor absolutely must be able to do.

All of this adds up to a nominee for Secretary of Labor who is uniquely unqualified.

But, unfortunately, there’s more.

This week, we learned that for years, President Trump’s selection for the Department of Labor admitted that he failed to pay taxes on a worker he employed.

And he only chose to pay those taxes once he had the chance to be part of the Trump Cabinet.

To me, it is shocking that a nominee for this critical position would flout these rules so openly—overlooking the same responsibilities that business owners nationwide manage to uphold.

So I agree with Senator Schumer that not only is Andrew Puzder uniquely unqualified—but his decision to pick and choose what laws he himself follows is disqualifying.

There simply should not be one set of rules for the Trump Cabinet and another for everyone else.

I hope Mr. Puzder will realize how compromised he would be in this role as a result of his dismissive comments about workers, this revelation about his unpaid taxes, his multiple potential conflicts of interest that could require him to recuse himself from key issues facing the Department—and more.

But if he doesn’t—let me be clear: he can expect Democrats, workers, and families to continue to scrutinize his record carefully, speak out loudly about what we see that concerns us—and make sure that this nomination process is as thorough and rigorous a vetting as possible.

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