Donald Trump announced Thursday that he intends to appoint Andy Puzder to his cabinet, naming the anti-woman, anti-union, anti-worker fast-food CEO as his Secretary of Labor. The decision marks yet another Trump appointment putting those who intend to do their best to dismantle or obstruct progress in positions of power.
Puzder is the 66-year-old CEO of CKE Restaurants Inc., best known for the fast-food establishments Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s. He has publicly and frequently spoken out against increasing the minimum wage, extending overtime pay eligibility and paid sick leave laws. (Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s restaurants have, in addition, been subject to numerous investigations for wage and hour violations such as wage theft.) The billionaire is now on track to oversee laws and regulations pertaining to those issues as well as worker safety and non-discrimination policies, and his new position in the Trump cabinet signals challenges ahead for labor unions and organizations like Fight for 15 which have been working to advance opportunities for low-wage workers—a majority of whom are women.
“Workers across the country are drowning under stagnant wages and rising costs,” Vivien Labaton, Co-Founder and Co-Director of Make It Work Action, said in a statement, “and we need a Labor Secretary who understands the daunting challenges working families face and who supports raising the minimum wage and guaranteeing paid family and medical leave to all workers. These issues are at the crux of working families’ economic security, and especially women’s economic security as women make up two thirds of minimum wage earners. This appointment shows that the Trump administration is not at all serious about boosting the financial stability of women and working families.”
Shaunna Thomas of UltraViolet also noted in a press release that Puzder’s fast-food chains have repeatedly put out sexist ads. CKE ads often portray women “wearing next to nothing while gesturing suggestively,” according to the New York Times. Much like Donald Trump himself was “not un-proud” of his own sexism, Puzder has not balked from taking credit for them. “I like our ads,” he once told Entrepreneur. He went on to describe “beautiful women eating burgers in bikinis” as “very American.”
“President-elect Trump ran a campaign fueled by misogyny, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that he’s now assembling the most anti-woman cabinet in modern history,” Thomas said in the press release. “But the selection of fast-food CEO Andy Puzder for Labor Secretary represents a unique threat to workers and women.”