To say it’s been an interesting ride since Donald Trump won the White House would be an understatement. Trump has doggedly pursued some promises while retreating from others. He’s put together a cabinet with a combined net worth of over $11 billion, staffed with members who seem at odds with some of his promises, and others who have caused anger and outrage from voters. But Trump’s appointment of Andy Puzder as Secretary of Labor has many American workers in an uproar. Why are they so upset? And what can we expect from Puzder as Secretary of Labor?
Puzder's Appointment As Secretary Of Labor Has Caused An Uproar. Why?
Every appointment by Donald Trump has come under fire. Critics say the picks don’t make sense. For example, Betsy DeVos. DeVos is a billionaire mega donor who has been involved in education reform in Michigan for decades. Except she never attended public school, and her reforms have led to some of the worst test scores in the state and country. Trump’s latest cabinet member, Andy Puzder, is the CEO of Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. fast food restaurants. On the surface, he’s a great choice to help “the little guy” as Trump works to build a stronger middle class. However, the people he’s supposed to represent don’t seem to want him. Did Trump get this one wrong?
Puzder is widely known for two things; his vehement opposition to a substantial minimum wage raise, and his notoriously lewd commercials for Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. And while those two pieces may (or may not) seem minor, they’ve got workers upset. How is Puzder pushing buttons?
Puzder has adamantly defended his commercials, saying there is nothing sexual about them nor is there anything sexist about them. Those commercials always show a beautiful woman in a bikin seductively eating a hamburger and making some sort of innuendo. Puzder says the commercials are meant to represent “American Men” and drive sales. He’s on record as saying the commercials directly represent him as CEO. And while his personal tastes and preferences are his own business, he makes those preferences public. The issue here is wage gaps by gender. In 2015, women made, on average, 20 percent less than men for the same work. Now, the man leading the conversation prides himself on showcasing beautiful women as a tool and nothing more.
But the real issue that’s got everyone upset is his stance on minimum wage. Federal minimum wage is currently set at $7.25 per hour. Activists across the country are fighting to double that to $15 per hour. Puzder is completely against any increase to more than $9 per hour. That’s a big discrepancy between laborers and the man appointed to fight on their behalf. However, in this case, Puzder is absolutely right. Laborers want more money for entry-level positions as cost of living goes up. But if they get that, many businesses will have to either raise costs of goods and services, lay off employees and replace them with automated kiosks, or close down. All of those options put employee jobs at risk.
Watch this video from 24h News about Andrew Puzder being chosen as the Secretary of Labor and a a critic of minimum wage increases.
So while workers may be angry at Trump’s latest pick, Andy Puzder may be exactly what laborers need.
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