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Via SEIU Leaders Team Up With New York City’s Elected Officials To Send a Message To President-Elect Trump And His U.S. Labor Secretary Nominee, Andy Puzder: ‘You're Not Normal!’

Published Monday, January 16, 2017
by Joe Maniscalco/

(NEW YORK CITY) - The Union behind pioneering Fast Food Workers in New York City teamed up with City Council Speaker Melissa-Mark Viverito and other elected officials late last week to denounce fast food kingpin Andy Puzder’s nomination as U.S. Labor Secretary - and to urge Congressional Democrats to grill the CEO like a well-done burger during upcoming confirmation hearings that will be held in February. 

“(Puzder) is ‘notorious’ for his ‘Anti-Worker rhetoric,’” City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito told demonstrators outside the Federal Building. “So this means that his nomination will have a ‘chilling effect’ on Labor, Labor Organizing ‘and the fight’ for Workers to ‘get what is right and just.’  This is ‘why we cannot stand this’ – ‘it’s not normal.’  ‘None of these nominees and what they propose, this president (is normal)’.  We’re ‘not going to normalize’ the behavior, we’re ‘not going to normalize the policies’ that they set forth.  ‘He is a liar and he is very much against all that we stand for.’”

32BJ Service Employees International Union (SEIU) President Hector Figueroa said if Americans want wage theft out of the workplace, President-Elect Donald Trump’s pick for U.S. Labor Secretary cannot be confirmed during upcoming Senate hearings: “Brothers and sisters, this is a ‘clear joke.’  We ‘cannot afford’ to have Puzder as Labor Secretary.  We ‘must stand firmly against’ this nomination and we ask the president-elect to ‘go back to the drawing table’ and ‘look for candidates that actually believe in’ the Labor Laws of this country.”

City Council Member I. Daneek Miller, who chairs the Committee on Civil Service and Labor, called Puzder’s nomination for Labor Secretary a “travesty” and an “abomination.”  “This man is ‘everything opposite’ of what Labor is,” Miller said. “This nomination will ‘take back all that has been done for decades.’  He has ‘demonstrated’ to be the Anti-Labor ‘everything.’” 

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee is scheduled to begin Puzder’s confirmation hearings on January 17th, but that date has since been pushed back to next month. 

Whenever the hearings begin, New York City Democrats are hoping their brethren in the U.S. Congress will actually have the nerve to stand up and oppose the CKE Restaurant executive’s nomination. 

“We expect Congressional Democrats to ‘have a spine and to stand up and to be strong,’” Council Member Johnson said. “Andy Puzder is ‘not only unfit’ to be Labor Secretary, he is ‘unfit for any job’ in the Labor Department – ‘no matter what it is.’  This is a man who has spent his life ‘hurting’ Workers, ‘hurting’ human beings and we ‘expect’ Congressional Democrats to ‘go after him and to use every tool in their arsenal to sink this nomination.’”

Whether or not that happens remains to be seen.

Already, Congressional Democrats are being criticized for “playing nice” with Secretary of State nominee - and Exxon mogul - Rex Tillerson during his confirmation hearings. 

Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, the sponsor of new legislation helping Fast Food Workers form their own advocacy organization, said Puzder “must be judged by what he’s done and not by the good show he may put on” for U.S. Senators. 

“And his actions have been to ‘break’ the law,” Council Member Ferreras-Copeland said. “To ‘not protect’ his Workers, to ‘abuse’ his Workers, to ‘not hear those’ those (who charge they were sexually harassed).  So, I’m ‘going to take him by what he’s already proven, not by what he might testify’ at this hearing.”

Figueroa added that Puzder’s confirmation is neither a Democratic or Republican issue: “This is ‘an issue of right or wrong’ and Puzder is ‘wrong’ for Working People.”

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