Colorado AFL-CIO Statement on Andy Puzder as Labor Secretary

Denver - On a press call Monday, Colorado AFL-CIO Executive Director Sam Gilchrist called on Senator Cory Gardner to vote against the nomination of Andy Puzder as US Secretary of Labor. 


"I'm going to say this straight up: Andy Puzder’s nomination to be Secretary of Labor is an insult to the dignity of working families everywhere. It’s an insult to the notion of a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.


Puzder has the view that some people are CEOs, some people are serfs, and we shouldn’t bother raising people up into the middle class. 


The values that Andy Puzder holds are the opposite of what Coloradans believe about the dignity of work and respect for workers. 


Coloradans just voted overwhelmingly to raise the minimum wage – something Andy Puzder opposes. 


Andy Puzder literally made more money in one day in 2016 – about $17,000 - than his minimum wage employees make in an entire year – about $15,000. 


He’s continued to promote myths that minimum wage workers are teenagers, when the reality is most minimum wage workers are adults, many trying to support families. 


On the minimum wage, Puzder has argued that many unskilled, entry-level positions “don’t produce enough economic value” to justify a wage increase. 


Not surprisingly, his own company has a record of ripping off workers.  


Of Puzder’s Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s restaurants that were investigated for labor law complaints, 60% were found to have violated the law. Most of these complaints were for failure to pay workers minimum wage or overtime. 


Rather than paying working people a living wage, Puzder's only solution is to expand the Earned Income Tax Credit so that the federal government takes responsibility off of employers for paying poverty-level wages.  


Judy Conti from the National Employment Law Project said: "It’s a form of corporate welfare. A full-time worker should not need the EITC. For private-sector employers who claim to be conservative to say that the answer is a federal subsidy for low-wage work that costs taxpayers’ money [rather than companies paying more] is pretty shocking and pretty transparently hypocritical." 


He is pushing to replace human workers with machines, because machines are "always polite, they always upsell, they never take a vacation, they never show up late, there’s never a slip-and-fall, or an age, sex, or race discrimination case." 


Puzder opposes the President’s overtime rule. He’s even complained about meal and rest breaks for employees. 


The members of the Colorado AFL-CIO literally build this state, and keep it working day in and day out.  


To tell them they don’t deserve a living wage, or that they should be replaced by robots, or that a CEO is worth more as a person than they are, disrespects who they are and what they do.  


What we need is more support for middle class families, not widening the gap between CEOS and working people. 


Coloradans believe that if you work hard and play by the rules, you deserve to get ahead. 


Andy Puzder does not. President-elect Trump does not. 


We are calling on Senator Gardner to vote against Andy Puzder and stand up for hardworking Coloradans and the middle class families that build this state by opposing the nomination of Andy Puzder as US Secretary of Labor."