Puzder’s nomination as labor secretary comes under attack; Alexander defends him

Senate Democrats and labor advocates demanded Thursday that Franklin, Tenn., resident Andrew Puzder withdraw his nomination as labor secretary because the fast-food executive’s record shows he would not be an advocate for workers’ rights, reports Michael Collins. A Puzder spokesman called the criticism “fake news.”

“Andrew Puzder has proven himself to be an enemy – not a champion– of workers’ rights,” said Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York. “Nominating Puzder to oversee the labor department is clearly having the fox guard the hen house – and a pretty sharp-toothed fox at that.”

Puzder’s critics said labor practices at his restaurants and his opposition to raising the minimum wage and expanding overtime eligibility should disqualify him from leading the Department of Labor.

…The calls for Puzder to withdraw his nomination come on the heels of his admission Monday night that he and his wife employed an undocumented housekeeper for years. Puzder said in a statement that, once he learned of the woman’s status, he ended her employment and paid back taxes to the IRS and California.

…Puzder can expect Democrats and workers’ advocates to thoroughly scrutinize his record, said Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, the top Democrat on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, which will conduct his hearing.

Workers at his restaurants have complained of lost wages, overtime violations and harassment – the kind of issues Puzder would be called on to investigate as labor secretary, Murray said.

“All of this adds up to a nominee for secretary of labor who is uniquely unqualified,” she said.

Sen. Lamar Alexander, the Tennessee Republican who chairs the committee, has defended Puzder as a respected business leader “who understands how excessive regulation can destroy jobs and make it harder for family incomes to rise.”

Puzder, who lives in Franklin, Tenn., is chief executive officer of CKE Restaurants, the parent company of the Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. fast-food chains.

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