The confirmation hearing for Trump’s labor secretary nominee, Andrew Puzder, has been delayed for the third time. This comes as current and former workers file complaints alleging employment law violations at his company, CKE Restaurants. CKE is the parent company of Carl’s Jr., Hardee’s and other restaurants. Ceatana Cordona, a former Hardee’s worder says she was sexually harassed when she worked nights running the cashier at a Hardee’s in Tampa, Fla.
n a statement, CKE said they do not comment on pending litigation, but noted that nearly 95% of the company’s restaurants are franchised, meaning the corporate entity that Pudzer leads did not run them. “Each of these 2,769 franchise stores are run independently and solely responsible for their employees, management and adherence to regulations and labor practices,” a CKE Spokesperson said in an email.
But the workers argue that Pudzer created a corporate culture and incentive structure that encouraged managers at individual stores to crack down on labor organizing and allow the alleged abuses to continue. “If Andy Puzder can’t be trusted to pay his workers what they’ve earned, why should we expect him to enforce laws meant to protect working Americans?” said Los Angeles Carl’s Jr. worker Angel Gallegos in a statement.
The fast food industry has been one of largest sources of opposition to minimum wage hikes, and Pudzer himself has been particularly outspoken. He personally spent $10,000 to fight a ballot initiative in Nevada that would have raised the state’s minimum wage a single dollar.
The Future of Puzder
Puzder’s confirmation hearing was originally scheduled for Jan. 12. The latest delay pushed the hearing to Feb. 7 to allow the nominee more time to submit required paperwork that includes background and financial information. Previously, Washington Democrat Patty Murray, the ranking member of the Senate committee hosting Puzder’s hearing, criticized him for not submitting required paperwork. This delay may lead states to take more matters into their own hands because they aren’t getting a clear reading from Washington, D.C., about new and existing Department of Labor regulations.