Next Labor Nominee Must Support Workers, Not Exploit Them

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Now that Andy Puzder has withdrawn his nomination to be Secretary of Labor, Donald Trump must be made to see the choice he faces.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.

For Press Inquiries Contact

M.E. Ficarra, press@now.org, (951) 547-1241

View this statement online by clicking here.

Five Things You Can Do to Address Systemic Racism in Oregon

For an Oregon where all women and girls thrive, all women and girls need to have equitable access to the opportunities it takes to thrive. But right now, many of Oregon’s women and girls of color do not. Because of the way race and gender intersect, women and girls of color face disproportionate barriers to success.

While it will take public policies to tackle the systemic nature of the gender and racial inequities found in Count Her In, each one of us can also make a difference. Watch our “Eight That Can’t Wait:” Systemic Racism discussion, and check out the resources below.

Five Things You Can Do to Address Systemic Racism in Oregon:

  1. Deepen your understanding. If you identify as white, educate yourself on what racism is, and how it has shaped and continues to shape our country, state, and communities. If you read one thing, start with Why It’s So Hard to Talk to White People about Racism, by Robin DiAngelo. Resources:
  2. Diversify your newsfeed. Seek out the perspectives of people of color, particularly women of color. Simply following (click “Follow” rather than “Add friend”) these voices on Facebook (or Twitter) will bring them into your newsfeed. Resources:
  3. Listen to people of color. Organizations led by people of color have been advocating for racial justice for a long time. Look to them for guidance on how to best address systemic racism. Sign up for the newsletters of these organizations, and follow them on social media. Resources:
  4. Center voices of color. Amplify the voices of people of color in meetings. Ask your HR department about your company’s diversity and inclusion policies, and request an all-staff anti-racism workshop. Don’t put together or participate in all-white panels. Make sure representatives from communities of color are invited to the decision-making table, listened to, amplified, and have their needs met. Ask leadership how decisions will affect women and girls of color. Resources:
  5. Interrupt racism: hold yourself and others accountable. Commit to opposing racism in your personal and professional life, every day. This means examining and interrupting your own racist thoughts and actions. This means holding others accountable at home, at work, at school, in media, in your community, and in elected office. This means using your “power and privilege responsibly in the service of justice.” We encourage white people to come from a place of empathy and compassion when addressing racism. Resources:
Thank you to our wonderful panelists for sharing their expertise and powerful personal experiences with us.

Panelists (left to right):

 The Oregon Women’s Foundation hosted a conversation on systemic racism in Oregon earlier in February, 2017.  It was part of its “Eight that Can’t Wait” discussion series that arose out of its 2016 “Count Her In” Report on the status of women in Oregon

Reich’s on Trump; Could States Sue Prez?

Robert Reich evaluates the newly inaugurated president of the United States on the 25th day of his rule: Donald Trump sold himself to voters as a successful businessman who knew how to get things d…

Source: Reich’s Take on Trump; Could States Sue Prez? | Nel’s New Day