Secretary Wife Beater
Andrew Puzder, Trump's Labor Secretary nominee, needs to be stopped
On January 17th, the U.S. Senate is scheduled to hold a confirmation hearing for Labor Secretary nominee Andrew Puzder. While the nomination is expected to draw opposition from Senators close to organized labor, explosive new allegations may derail his entire appointment.
According to Politico, the ex-wife of Puzder appeared, in disguise and under an alias, on The Oprah Winfrey Show claiming to be a victim of domestic violence. The Politico report confirmed with two friends and a spokesperson for the couple that the ex-wife accused Puzder of physically abusing her multiple times throughout the 1980’s.
The ex-wife, Lisa Fierstein, accused Puzder in court documents of having "assaulted and battered [her] by striking her violently about the face, chest, back, shoulders, and neck, without provocation or cause," and that she “suffered severe and permanent injuries.” Court documents that were obtained by Politico show that from 1986 to 1988 Fierstein filed three legal documents claiming that Puzder assaulted her, causing injuries ranging from bruises and contusions to bulging discs in her back and neck. She also sought a protective order against Puzder in 1986, just weeks before they divorced.
With Puzder’s confirmation hearing coming up, more information has also leaked out about the working conditions at his fast food establishments. A new report from Restaurant Opportunities Center (Roc) United, a restaurant worker advocacy group, reports that 66% of female workers at CKE restaurants reported being sexually harassed, significantly higher than the industry average of 40%. Puzder is the CEO of CKE restaurants which include Carls Jr. and Hardees. Carls Jr. is famous for their highly-sexualized advertising. The study also found that close to 33% of the workers interviewed reported facing wage theft such as failed overtime payments, inadequate work breaks and performing multiple duties without adequate compensation.
On Tuesday, former employees of CKE testified before a panel of Senate Democrats on the working conditions at the fast food restaurants. During the testimony, employees spoke about how they worked 6 days a week for poverty wages and one former General Manager said that she couldn’t think of anyone less qualified to run the Department of Labor. “He never protected the employees at CKE when he was in charge so I don’t think he would be the person to protect American workers’ rights,” Laura McDonald, a former manager said. Employees are also planning protests against his appointment outside of CKE restaurants on Thursday.
Puzder has been facing strong opposition from organized labor due to his belief that the minimum wage should not be increased and his opposition to progressive policies like the recent Overtime Expansion Rule. He will now face strong opposition from women’s groups as well, with one saying “I can’t imagine a single organization that cares about women that would not vigorously oppose him.” Puzder is also listed by Senate Democrats as one of the most problematic nominees. With these recent abuse allegations, time will tell if it is enough to sink his nomination.
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