Schumer: President Trump Should Withdraw His Nomination of Andrew Puzder for Secretary of Labor

February 9, 2017

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today delivered remarks outlining his concerns regarding the nomination of Andrew Puzder for Secretary of Labor. Below are his remarks:

If you go to the Department of Labor website, you’re going find a very good posted mission statement. Here it is, I’m quoting, “to foster, promote and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers and retirees of the United States.” To quote, these are all quotes, “to improve working conditions, to advance opportunities for profitable employment and assure work-related benefits and rights.”

These are long held goals. America has had these goals for decades—over a century—to ensure that our workforce is strong, healthy and capable of supporting families.

Unfortunately, you could not have picked a worse nominee to uphold these goals than Andrew Puzder. Everything in his career is antithetical to the goals of the Department of Labor.

If there was a mission statement for Andrew Puzder’s career it would be the exact opposite of the mission statement of the Department of Labor. It would fly in the face of what’s good for the hundreds of millions of working  American women and men. Andrew Puzder’s mission statement has been defined by cutting corners and putting profits over people, over his workers.

On policy and practice, Andrew Puzder has proven himself to be an enemy, not a champion, of worker’s rights. Nominating Puzder to oversee the Labor Department is clearly having a fox guard the henhouse, and a pretty sharp-toothed fox at that.

How can a man who made his career and his fortune in an industry known for cheating workers out of wages and overtime be trusted to quote, “advance opportunities for profitable employment and assure work-related benefits and rights?” The answer is simple: he can’t.

How can a man who once said he prefers robots to human employees, because they’re always polite, they always upsell, they never take a vacation, they never show up late, there’s never a slip and fall or an age, sex or race discrimination case—he said that—how can that man be trusted to be the head of the Department of Labor?

Andrew Puzder has said that minimum wage is quote, “a big mistake.” Tell that to our constituents who are struggling on minimum wage. Tell that to my friend Shariqa who cleans toilets at Kennedy Airport and wants the minimum wage, so she might once take her kids to McDonald’s or once buy Christmas presents for them. Tell that to her.

He’s a guy who wants to leave it up to CEOs to decide whether employees work hard enough to merit overtime. Let’s ask all the workers of America, ‘raise your hands if you think your employer would give you more money out of the goodness of his or her heart.’ Some would raise their hands, unfortunately too many wouldn’t.

He outsourced American jobs while at CKE restaurants, outsourcing its restaurant information technology division to the Philippines. He even admitted, at one point, that forty percent of his workforce was undocumented.

And just last week, we learned he employed an undocumented housekeeper for years, avoiding paying taxes. He shares that with another cabinet nominee, Congressman Mulvaney.

Donald Trump campaigned on behalf of the working men and women. He said he was going represent them.

The nomination of Mr. Puzder represents broken promise after broken promise. Donald Trump has amazing gall to have campaigned the way he did and then put this man as nominee for Secretary of Labor. The idea that you can say one thing and do another and get away with it is embodied in the nomination of Andrew Puzder—one of the most anti-worker nominees to any cabinet position and probably the most anti-worker nominee to the Department of Labor, ever.

Remember the days when Republicans would actually nominate labor leaders to be head of the Department of Labor. My fellow New Yorker, Peter Brennan, was nominated by Richard Nixon. He was Head of the Building Trades. This is amazing.

They ought to withdraw Puzder as nominee before he further embarrasses this administration and further exposes the hypocrisy of President Trump in saying one thing to the workers of America and then doing another.