Dear SDC Members,
On Monday, February 13, SDC’s Executive Board Meeting included a critical resolution responding to President Trump’s nomination for Labor Secretary, Andrew Puzder.
Whereas the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (“SDC”) represents almost 3,000 theatre artists throughout the United States with respect to their employment and collective bargaining rights;
Whereas SDC Membership includes Associate Members who are especially reliant on protections of the wage and hour laws and regulations in connection with their employment; and
Whereas SDC recognizes its responsibilities to further and protect the interests of the American labor movement and workforce to ensure workers’ entitlement to a safe workplace and the protections of existing labor laws and regulations;
THEREFORE IT IS HEREBY RESOLVED by the Executive Board of SDC that the Union and its Membership oppose the nomination of Andrew Puzder for the position of United States Secretary of Labor, and we urge our Members’ respective United States Senators to oppose his nomination based on his public statements and litigation conducted by his businesses that reflect a callous disregard for the welfare of workers and ignorance and opposition to the agency’s critical mission to protect workers’ rights and interests.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Call your Senators and ask for their commitment to reject Andrew Puzder’s nomination.
Locate your Senators: https://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/.
It doesn’t take long, and it does make a difference. In this moment, every Senator should hear from us. Perhaps we can change a mind, or say thank you, or register our objection—every call is counted. As of yesterday afternoon, there are four Republican Senators who have indicated they may withhold their vote—Susan Collins from Maine, Johnny Isakson from Georgia, Lisa Murkowski from Alaska, and Tim Scott from South Carolina.
Andrew Puzder’s confirmation hearing is Thursday at 10:00 AM. Constituent calls into members’ offices are a very powerful form of advocacy for cabinet nominees. The Department for Professional Employees, a trade group of the AFL-CIO, has recommended that members of unions call their senators, give their zip code, ask the senators to vote NO on Puzder, and give a one-sentence reason why they oppose Puzder as Labor Secretary.
While not all of it may be relevant, the below talking points provided by Jobs With Justice and the National Employment Law Project can help SDC Members articulate why they oppose him.
Key Message: Andrew Puzder’s history makes it clear that he’ll be hostile to working people. Working families want a Labor Secretary who’ll look out for them—not undermine them.
President-elect Donald Trump chose a fast-food CEO with a record of labor violations, suppressing wages, and sexist ads to be the country’s leading voice for working people.
If he is confirmed, it means that a CEO with a history of hostility to workers will be in charge of defending working people.
- By choosing Puzder, Trump made it clear that his campaign promises to stand up for working people and to “drain the swamp” were lies designed to get him elected.
- Puzder is part of Trump’s corporate cabinet of billionaires and powerful Wall Street insiders who broke the rules and rigged the system to get richer at the expense of the rest of us. It gives him a chance to rig the system further in favor of people like him.
Puzder’s career success comes at the expense of the same people Trump vowed to help.
- As the CEO of fast-food giant CKE Restaurants—the parent company of the Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. chains—Andrew Puzder has a record of taking money out of the pockets of the people who work for him, to line his own.
- Puzder grew his fortune by underpaying the people who worked for him and fighting against ways to help Americans climb the economic ladder and close the wage gap.
Puzder opposes the policy moves that could actually help workers get ahead.
- Puzder took home $4,400,000 in 2012, 294 times what the average person earning the minimum wage makes a year.
- Yet he vehemently opposes meaningful increases to the minimum wage, overtime protections that would give millions a raise, paid sick time, and other popular measures that help working people earn a fair return on their work.
Puzder will make workplaces worse.
- Puzder’s business routinely violated workers’ basic rights and his contempt for the rules of the agency he would run is unprecedented.
- The Labor Department found Puzder’s CKE restaurants and franchises guilty of stealing employee wages in 60 percent of their investigations. Puzder even complained about having to provide rest and meal breaks.
- Working people can’t trust Puzder to look out for them in enforcing labor laws if he can’t abide by the rules himself.
Puzder’s idea of job creation is creating jobs for robots.
- Puzder speaks glowingly of machines taking away peoples’ jobs, even replacing the people who work at Carl’s Jr. with machines.
- Puzder said, “[Machines are] 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 even said he’d “want to try” an employee-free operation in his restaurants.
- He also said “some jobs don’t produce enough economic value” to justify his stance against a higher minimum wage.
Puzder exploits women to sell burgers with racy, sexist ads.
- Sixty-six percent of women working in Puzder’s chains report unwanted sexual harassment and his companies have been subject to numerous sexual harassment and sex discrimination lawsuits.
- Puzder has a problem with women in the workplace. The fast-food restaurant industry relies on women’s work to succeed, but Puzder opposes policies that would raise women’s earnings and close the gender wage gap, and he has attacked women’s health care.
As always, it’s an honor and a privilege to serve the Membership.