Washington, DC: Equality Federation joined Representative Takano (D-Calif.) and leaders of Pride at Work and Wyoming Equality today to hold a press conference opposing Andrew Puzder for Labor Secretary.
Mr. Puzder faces a broad and growing opposition, including prominent Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Susan Collins (Maine), as his anti-worker, anti-LGBTQ record comes to light. Puzder helped draft the GOP party platform, the most anti-LGBTQ platform in history, and has refused to answer questions about his position on employment nondiscrimination protections. A recent report by Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC) found widespread wage abuse, discrimination and sexual harassment at Puzder’s company CKE Restaurants Inc. He is currently being sued for wage and labor violations.
“As the government agency charged with protecting LGBTQ workers from coast to coast, a labor department led by Andy Puzder represents a clear and present danger to our dignity, our safety and our rights,” said Jerame Davis, Executive Director of Pride at Work. “He is the opposite of what we deserve in a Labor Secretary. Andy Puzder is the kind of guy who extols the virtues of machines, but refers to his employees as ‘the worst.’”
Representative Takano called out Trump for going back on his word to protect the middle class. “The central premise of President Trump’s campaign was that he would empower the middle class. He promised to “give power back to the people.” How does depriving the LGBT community of workplace protections empower the middle class? How does nominating a fast food CEO to be Secretary of Labor empower the middle class? And how does suppressing wages and opposing a decent minimum wage empower the middle class?” he asked.
Andy Garcia, Program Manager of Equality Federation, said, “More than half of all Americans live in states that do not have inclusive nondiscrimination laws protecting LGBTQ people and our families from workplace discrimination. Oftentimes unions are the first line of defense when people face discrimination in those states. We need a labor secretary who champions the core American values of fairness, freedom, and opportunity for all, not someone who has a long history of undermining the dignity of his employees.”
“Wyoming is the Equality State, and while we consistently defeat bad bills that target the LGBTQ community, we don’t have a single statewide law to protect housing or hiring. We look to the federal government, trusting them to pass laws to protect all of us. That reliance on the federal government to protect our workers, LGBTQ and otherwise, is put into serious jeopardy with a nominee like Andrew Puzder,” said Sara Burlingame, Education and Outreach Director of Wyoming Equality. “ He doesn’t value fairness; he doesn’t think workers deserve the dignity of our private lives. Mr. Puzder, with his snide rhetoric about workers of all stripes, is a bully. Wyoming doesn’t kneel to the pressure of bullies and you shouldn’t either.”
Equality Federation and Pride At Work have collected over 18,000 signatures from people opposed to Puzder due to his antii-LGBTQ and anti-worker track record.