Workers Deliver Petitions to Senator Elizabeth Warren, Urge Her to Vote No on Trump Labor Secretary NomineeJanuary 30, 2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Workers Submit Hundreds of Thousands of Petitions, including 10,967 from Massachusetts Voters, Opposing CKE Restaurant CEO Andy Puzder’s Nomination
Boston, MA (January 30, 2017) – Days after Senate Republican leadership delayed fast-food CEO and multi-millionaire Andy Puzder’s confirmation hearings for U.S. Secretary of Labor for the third time, working people today delivered hundreds of thousands of petitions to Senator Elizabeth Warren, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and urged her to vote against Puzder’s nomination.
Members of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East and workers representing the Fight for $15 delivered 317,547 petitions from voters across the country – including 10,967 from Massachusetts voters. The action was one of 24 taking place nationwide on Monday as working-class Americans and other people who support quality jobs make a direct appeal to both Republican and Democratic members of the Senate committee to reject the nominee. Puzder has come out against raising the minimum wage, overtime protections, workers’ rights to join a union, paid sick and family leave, federal housing assistance and access to healthcare coverage through the Affordable Care Act – policies that are essential to workers’ ability to build a better future for themselves and their families.
The complaints come on the heels of a bruising few weeks for Puzder’s nomination. Days after fast-food workers from his own restaurants protested against Puzder’s nomination in more than 40 cities, CNN reported he was having “second thoughts” about leading the Dept. of Labor because of the pressure. The Associated Press reported that Puzder’s CKE outsourced the company’s IT and tech support jobs to a company in the Philippines. Capital & Main reported that, under Puzder’s tenure as CEO, Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s have been hit with more federal employment discrimination lawsuits than any other major U.S. hamburger chain. Another report released by the National Employment Law Project found that low pay and lack of benefits at jobs at CKE costs taxpayers an estimated $247 million a year. And the Center for Investigative Reporting revealed that Puzder spent $10,000 of his own money in 2006 to fight a Nevada ballot initiative that would have raised the state minimum wage just $1, from $5.15 to $6.15.
On Thursday, the Fight for $15 announced 33 wage theft, sexual harassment, and unfair labor practices complaints against CKE restaurants. In response, Puzder went on a Twitter “blocking binge,” blocking SEIU President Mary Kay Henry, Fight for $15 accounts, as well as organizations advocating for underpaid workers.
Representing more than 56,000 healthcare workers throughout Massachusetts and over 400,000 workers on the East Coast, 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East is the largest and fastest-growing healthcare union in America. Our mission is to achieve affordable, high quality healthcare for all. 1199SEIU is part of the 2 million member Service Employees International Union.
The Fight for $15 started in New York City in 2012, when 200 brave fast-food workers walked off their jobs, demanding $15 and the right to form a union without retaliation. The movement has spread to cities around the world and to industries across the low-wage service economy including home care and child care. Once considered a long shot, workers have won $15 in California and New York State, in cities like Washington, D.C. and Seattle, and in companies and industries all around the nation. Over the past year in Massachusetts, workers at Boston Medical Center, Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Plymouth, and 35,000 personal care attendants have won a $15 minimum wage. Learn more at fightfor15.org.