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Trump’s secretary of labor pick believes workers are ‘overprotected’ and shouldn’t get breaks

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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.

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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.

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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.


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Navy captain fired by Trump over coronavirus letter tests positive for COVID-19: report

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According to a report from the New York Times, the Navy captain relieved of his duties by the Trump administration over a letter drawing attention to dangerous health conditions on his aircraft carrier has tested positive for COVID-19.

The report states, "Capt. Brett E. Crozier, the Navy captain who was removed from command of the coronavirus-stricken aircraft carrier U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt, has tested positive for Covid-19, according to two Naval Academy classmates of Crozier’s who are close to him and his family."

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Georgia GOP governor orders several beaches to reopen days after acknowledging he’s woefully uneducated on coronavirus spread

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The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported today that Kemp is reopening Tybee Island and other beaches along the Georgia coast.

Local officials in several of Georgia’s coastal communities reacted with fury on Saturday after Gov. Brian Kemp’s shelter-in-place order simultaneously reopened several of the state’s most popular beaches.

The stupidity and lack of regard of human life on display in Republican-run states is beyond criminal and inhumane. In fact, there are no words to describe this. Because the longer these so-called “leaders” make decisions that are in the best interests of, I don’t know who, the longer it will take to come out of this pandemic that is claiming so many thousands of lives.

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Health care insurers expected to jack up premiums as much as 40 percent to recoup coronavirus losses

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Private health insurers are expected to raise premiums by as much as 40% to recoup the costs of coronavirus testing and treatment, according to a new analysis from Covered California, the state's health care marketplace.

This article first appeared in Salon.

Though it remains unclear how much the coronavirus crisis will ultimately cost in health care expenditures, insurers will be submitting their 2021 rates to state regulators next month. Analyzing a wide range of models, Covered California expects that this year's care associated with the virus will cost between $34 billion and $251 billion, or between 2% of premiums and 21% of premiums. The analysis estimates that insurers would price the costs at double the rate into their 2021 premiums, projecting increases that range from as little as 4% to more than 40% for the 170 million workers and individuals who have private plans.

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