President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for Labor Secretary appears less and less like a champion of workers each day. On Wednesday, OC Weekly unearthed a 2009 interview between Puzder, who is the CEO of CKE restaurants, and California State University Prof. Allison Varzally.
During their interview, Puzder called California a socialist state, adding that “You can’t be a capitalist” there. He then complained about workers regulations and overtime laws, boasting his belief that “workers are overprotected.” He also claimed that workers should not have breaks.
OC Weekly reported the following statement from Puzder’s interview:
“Have you ever been to a fast food restaurant and the employees are sitting and you’re wondering, ‘Why are they sitting?'” Puzder asked. “They are on what is called a mandatory break.” He shared a laugh with the interviewer, saying the so-called nanny state is why Carl’s Jr. doesn’t open up any new restaurants in California anymore.
Add that to the existing list of problematic values for someone who is poised to head the U.S. Department of Labor, which as Mother Jones reports, “exists to ‘foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers,’ as well as to ‘improve working conditions’ and ‘assure work-related benefits and rights.'”
Even before the release of this 2009 interview, Puzder was on record as an opponent of raising the minimum wage. He suggested in 2014 that increasing the minimum wage would hurt low-wage workers. At that time, he was earning 291 times more than minimum-wage employees working for his fast-food chains.
Puzder’s company was also hit with a class-action lawsuit in 2013 for “allegedly failing to pay its general managers overtime, even while requiring them to be on call 24 hours a day,” according to Law 360.
Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich slammed Puzder as “anti-worker” during a CNN panel earlier this month. He pointed to the fact that “The Department of Labor came into his restaurants and found that half his restaurants had wage and labor violations that violated the law of the United States.”
It seems that Puzder is not the most “pro-worker” pick for Trump’s cabinet, which is important given that the president-elect ran his campaign on the basis of making America work again, while catering to the working class.