Yesterday, it was revealed that Donald Trump will nominate Andrew Puzder, the CEO of CKE, the parent company of fast food hamburger chains Hardee’s and Carl’s. Puzder is a prominent opponent of raises in the minimum wage.
Starting to work at Carl’s or Hardee’s, workers can expect to earn only $7.25 per hour. The up-by-your-bootstraps mythology of the right wing supposes that these fast food workers could gain wealth by moving up the ladder with a good attitude and a lot of elbow grease, but there isn’t much room to advance under Puzder. A shift manager at Carl’s can expect to earn only $9.63 per hour. At Hardee’s, a shift manager earns only $9.11 per hour.
It gets worse. Those low wages at Puzder’s fast food joints are just what’s officially on the books. 60 percent of Carl’s and Hardee’s franchises have been found to commit labor violations – mostly paying less than the minimum wage of $7.25 and illegally keeping pay that workers have earned.
While he nickles and dimes his workers, Puzder himself takes home several million dollars every year. Puzder makes more money in one day that most of his workers make in a an entire year.
The standard justification for depriving workers of a more reasonable wage is that keeping wages low will increase the number of jobs. At his own company, however, Puzder is pushing to put people out of work and replace them with robots. Puzder claimed that robots should replace human workers because robots are “always polite”.
Although Puzder wants to use technology to deprive people of work, he also argues that people who are suffering from unemployment should be deprived of food stamps. It’s ironic for someone who makes money by selling food, but Puzder opposes lunch breaks for his workers, so that they don’t have the opportunity to eat regular meals, even if they can afford to buy something to eat.
Puzder also opposes paid sick leave for his workers, which can lead to some downright disgusting consequences. A year ago, for example, thousands of people had to be vaccinated against Hepatitis A after a person working at Hardee’s restaurant in South Carolina came in to work in spite of being sick with the disease. Hardee’s had refused to vaccinate its workers for the disease.