Hundreds protest President Trump's pick for labor secretary - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Hundreds protest President Trump's pick for labor secretary

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Union members and activists hold signs protesting against Labor Secretary nominee Andy Puzder in front of Sen. Marco Rubio's office, Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017, in Doral, Fla. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz) Union members and activists hold signs protesting against Labor Secretary nominee Andy Puzder in front of Sen. Marco Rubio's office, Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017, in Doral, Fla. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

ANAHEIM (CNS) - Just ahead of Andy Puzder's confirmation hearing for U.S. labor secretary, hundreds of fast-food workers are scheduled to gather at Carl Karcher Enterprises' corporate offices in Anaheim Monday to demand the fast-food mogul withdraw his nomination or be rejected by the U.S. Senate, according to a union representative.
   
The protest in Anaheim will coincide with a rally outside Hardee's headquarters in St. Louis. CKE is the parent company for both Carl's Jr and Hardee's restaurants and the Red Burrito and Green Burrito fast-food chains.

In about two dozen other cities, workers will protest at Hardee's, Carl's Jr. and McDonald's restaurants, according to Fight For $15 union representative Shannon Garth-Rhodes. McDonald's CEO Stephen Easterbrook recently expressed support for Puzder.
   
The protests mark an uptick in the Fight for $15's opposition to Puzder's nomination.

"Puzder's nomination sends the wrong message to America," said Sandra Ortega, an organizer with Clergy and Laity for Economic Justice (CLUE), which is participating in the protests.
   
Ortega said she expects at least 500 people will participate in the protest, including about 100 people from CLUE, which operates primarily in Orange and Los Angeles counties.

Organizers have been working with police to ensure the protest remains peaceful and no civil disobedience was expected to occur, she said.

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that for years Puzder evaded payroll taxes for a housekeeper he employed until after President Trump tapped him to lead the Department of Labor.
   
Similar type of revelations forced two of President Bill Clinton's nominees for Attorney General -- Zoe Baird and Kimba Wood -- to withdraw from consideration.
   
In late January, CKE workers filed 33 complaints with state and federal agencies alleging wage theft, sexual harassment and retaliation and intimidation against workers trying to organize a union on the job.

The website Capital & Main reported that under Puzder's tenure as CEO since 2000, Carl's Jr. and Hardee's have been hit with more federal employment discrimination lawsuits than any other major U.S. hamburger chain.

According to CKE's latest financial disclosures, Puzder makes as much as $10 million a year. He has been an outspoken opponent of minimum wage hikes, spending $10,000 of his own money in 2006 to help block a Nevada ballot initiative raising the minimum wage to $6.15.
    
U.S. President Donald Trump, however, had high praise for Puzder when he nominated him for labor secretary in early December.

"Andy will fight to make American workers safer and more prosperous by enforcing fair occupational safety standards and ensuring workers receive the benefits they deserve, and he will save small businesses from the crushing burdens of unnecessary regulations that are stunting job growth and suppressing wages," Trump said.
   
Upon his nomination, Puzder promised to be a stalwart in fighting for the American worker.

"My job as a business person is to maximize profits for my company, employees and shareholders," Puzder said. "My job as Secretary of Labor, if confirmed, is to serve U.S. citizen workers. That is my moral and constitutional duty. I know the system from the inside, and will be the best champion American workers have had."
 

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