In anticipation of the Senate confirmation hearing on the nomination of fast-food CEO Andy Puzder for Secretary of Labor, cashiers and cooks at Puzder’s restaurants announced two dozen complaints filed with state and federal agencies.
Workers are fighting back on wage theft, sexual harassment, and unfair labor practices.
In Los Angeles, Angel Gallegos, a Carl’s Jr. cook, went without pay for an entire month until finally being paid when he stopped coming to work in protest. “If Andy Puzder can’t be trusted to pay his workers what they’ve earned, why should we expect him to enforce laws meant to protect working Americans?” asks Angel.
In Durham, workers were paid via debit card that included transaction fees that took hourly wages below the federal minimum wage of $7.25.
In Oakland, a gay Carl’s Jr. worker was repeatedly harassed by his manager, who told customers and co-workers that he “likes boys” and used a feminized version of his name.
In Tampa, Ceatana Cardona, a Hardee’s employee, was sexually harrassed by a shift-manager. When she complained, there was no action against the manager. She says: “Andy Puzder has said he’d like to replace his workers with robots because they don’t file sexual harassment claims. Well, I’m no robot, and he’s absolutely right I’ll hold his restaurant accountable if they don’t protect me or my co-workers.”
In addition to complaints by workers, local Fight for $15 chapters filed 7 Unfair Labor Practices complaints against CKE franchisees for illegal surveillance, threats and intimidation of workers.
In one case, a franchisee sent an internal memo to employees stating that “the press is NOT our friend” and that “our franchise agreement with CKE” requires that “no one in this franchise is to talk to any reporter or individual asking questions about our operations.”
This pattern of retaliation and intimidation aimed at preventing employees from speaking to the press or organizing to fight for higher wages and better work conditions is the kind of culture CKE condones under Puzder.
This cannot be the culture that we condone on a national level, but it is exactly what will happen if Andy Puzder is confirmed as Labor Secretary.