As you may have heard, among Donald Trump's atrocious, government-despising cabinet nominees is Carl's Jr./Hardee's CEO Andrew Puzder, a man reportedly opposed to hikes in the minimum wage, and whose company has been implicated in retaliating against workers who tried to organize for better wages. His nomination may indeed be in jeopardy for some other reasons namely that he's admitted to employing an undocumented housekeeper, and now Oprah's come after him with old tape of an ex-wife accusing him of domestic violence but on Monday in Oakland about five dozen labor activists entered a Carl's Jr. at 3770 Telegraph Avenue to disrupt business and call attention to Puzder's poor record on labor.
As CBS 5 reports, protesters included workers at other Carl's Jr. locations, like Connie Betancourt, who has worked at the Alameda location for 14 years. She told the station that she often works six days a week but only gets paid for five, accusing the company of wage theft. Another worker at a San Jose location says she is forced to work through her government-mandated break time.
Kathryn Lybarger, the outspoken president of the California Labor Federation and also president of the state's largest employee union, Local 3299, gave a statement on Puzder saying, "He doesn't believe the people behind the counter are worth anything, but they're the ones making him his money. He's depending on people's poverty. And this is the guy who's supposed to be in charge of workers in the country."
Monday's protest in Oakland was just one of dozens happening all over the country calling attention to Puzder's record on labor.
Salon reported in January on the multitude of wage and labor violations attributed to CKE Restaurants, the parent company of Hardee's and Carl's Jr., of which Puzder has served as chairman and CEO since 2000. President Trump has promised that Puzder will "save small businesses from the crushing burdens of unnecessary regulations."
Despite a significant amount of litigation against the company and specific store location, CKE issued a statement in regard to these criticisms saying, "We’d like to offer a reminder that CKE Restaurants is nearly 95 percent franchised. Each of these 2,769 franchise stores are run independently and solely responsible for their employees, management and adherence to regulations and labor practices."
As the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports, prior to he CEO position, Puzder was a private attorney who was known as one of the top anti-abortion lawyers in Missouri, representing anti-abortion activists pro bono and helping pass a state law declaring that life begins at conception.
He has no moral qualms about using sex to sell burgers, though. Carl's Jr. has that ad campaign featuring hot models in bikinis eating huge sloppy burgers, and Puzder claimed that these ads actually reflected his personality in an interview with Entrepreneur Magazine. "I like beautiful women eating burgers in bikinis. I think it’s very American," he said.
Wonder how much they got paid.Fight for $15 workers protest the nomination of Andy Puzder for labor secretary on January 26, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. Photo: Getty Images