Statement of NOW President Terry O’Neill
February 15, 2017
Washington, DC – The withdrawal of Andy Puzder’s nomination for Secretary of Labor comes at a pivotal time for U.S. workers.
Andy Puzder built his business on exploiting workers, bilking them out of fair wages and humane workplace conditions, and using the sexual objectification of women to sell hamburgers. His business model was built on policies that harm low-wage workers, who are predominantly women, disproportionately women of color. All that was acceptable to the rubber-stamp Republican Senate, but when they saw the videotape of his former spouse detailing his vicious threats and abuse they finally pulled the plug.
Now that Andy Puzder has withdrawn his nomination to be Secretary of Labor, Donald Trump must be made to see the choice he faces. He can pick another crony capitalist or Wall Street billionaire with whom he likes to golf at Mar-a-Lago, or he can pick someone who has an actual track record of supporting workers.
The next Labor nominee needs to demonstrate a genuine commitment to the well being of workers in three crucial ways: First, the nominee must promote a true living wage — at minimum, $15 per hour, although that may already be too low in some cities. Second, they must be committed to programs and policies aimed at eliminating the gender and gender-race wage gaps, as well as sexual harassment in the workplace. Third, they must support the right of all employees to join unions and bargain collectively for decent wages and working conditions.
Donald Trump should have been mortified to even nominate Andy Puzder to lead the U.S. Department of Labor. Trump isn’t likely to change, but he can wake up to the political reality his disastrous nomination of Puzder has created. NOW calls on Trump to pick a nominee who will support and strengthen workers—not exploit their labor or use them to line his own pockets.
Andy Puzder’s nomination was unsustainable, but a nominee with the same views in a more palatable package will be equally unacceptable. NOW leaders and activists around the country are newly energized, and we will carefully scrutinize Trump’s next Labor Secretary nominee. Donald Trump is having a bad week, but it will get worse if he nominates another crony capitalist to be Secretary of Labor.
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