Many trade unionists in the USA have a âspring in their stepâ today (Wednesday 16th February) after learning that Donald Trumpâs nominee for US Labour Secretary Andrew Pudzer withdrew his nomination when he recognised the uphill climb he was facing on Capitol Hill.
Pudzer the CEO of fast food chain giant CKE Restaurants, (owners of Carlâs Jr and Hardeeâs outlets) was due to appear before the Senate health, education, labour and pensions committee Thursday
Pudzerâs nomination was facing opposition from unions, progressive groups, democrats and even some republicans.
The US Department of Labor website states that its mission is to âfoster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.â
Puzderâs pedigree showed that he was likely to fall foul of the statement – as he has done the exact opposite of what the mission statement requires.
He has fought against workersâ rights; argued against increases in minimum wages; argued for replacing workers with robots and âand showedÂ disdain for his own employees – Â the very people who helped make him a multi millionaireâ according to Sarah Baker who led the vetting team in the White House during Obamaâs presidency.
It transpires that Puzder employed an âundocumented immigrantâ and never paid taxes â and he would have been responsible for wage and working hours standards, benefitsÂ and providing protection for workers.
Adverts for his Carlâs Jr. and Hardeeâs outlets have been described as âpornographicâ and âsexistâ – depicting scantily clad women in bikiniâs eating burgers. Pudzer naturally disagreed calling the adverts âAmericanâ.
In 1990, Puzderâs ex-wife went onÂ the Oprah TV show (in diguise) and alledged that Pudzer abused her â a claim she has since withdrawn.
Richard Tumka the President of the US union umbrella organization the AFL-CIO says âthe power of collective actionâ brought Pudzer down.
Unions and progressive groups have organized demonstrations against Pudzer since his nomination was announced, with a remarkable degree of success.
The Service Employees International Union (SEIU), staged protests around the country, the largest outside of CKEâs St. Louis headquarters.
Mindful of the blue collar support for Trump among their own members unions made Puzder the focus of a campaign to portray Trump as a tool for corporate interests who favours low wages and exploitation.
Thomas Perez, the former US secretary of labour who is in the running to lead the Democratic National Committee, called Pudzer a âfrequent flyer defendant – someone for whom we had a steady diet of wage and hour casesâ.
âWhen you call your workers the âthe worst of the worst,â (as Pudzer has done) thatâs no way to earn or command respect,â Perez said.
This decision was good news but as a US friend and a senior union official told me: âWho knows who Trump will bring forward next? The CEO of Burger King?â
Read more by clicking here: The New Yorker