One worker said his wages were stolen. Another said she was forced to work without overtime pay.
A third worker described her struggles to provide for a family of six children — on $8.75 an hour after years of experience inside food industry.
The three are current in addition to also also former employees of CKE Restaurants, the fast-food company run by secretary of labor nominee Andrew Puzder of which is usually known for its Carl’s Jr. in addition to also also Hardee’s chains. They spoke for nearly two hours Tuesday about poor working conditions before a panel convened in Washington by Democratic senators Elizabeth Warren in addition to also also Patty Murray.
“People like Puzder don’t see how regular Americans are living day by day,” said Lupe Guzman, a 47-year-old mother of six who works a graveyard shift at a Carl’s Jr in Las Vegas. “People are hurting. People like me. Families like mine — struggling to survive on minimum wage.”
Related: Democrats to attack Labor nominee’s employee treatment
Puzder’s confirmation hearing has yet to be scheduled. yet Democrats used Tuesday to fire an opening salvo against the nomination, which they characterized as attack on American workers in addition to also also an endorsement of bad labor practices.
“Mr. Puzder is usually not the kind of American person of which workers can trust to stand up for them,” Warren said.
The Labor Department has traditionally been the enforcer of labor laws in addition to also also protector of workers. Since his nomination, Puzder has faced criticism through Democrats of which he is usually too pro-employer in addition to also also anti-worker.
Warren also unveiled brand-new findings by a pro-worker organization called Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, which surveyed more than 500 employees of CKE Restaurants about sexual harassment through customers, being forced to work off the clock, not receiving required breaks in addition to also also not getting overtime pay.
The unscientific survey reported of which 66% of women said they experienced unwanted sexual behavior at work, while 28% of respondents worked off-the-clock in addition to also also 79% of workers said they prepared or served food while sick.
Related: Trump taps Andrew Puzder, CEO of Hardee’s in addition to also also Carl’s Jr., as Labor secretary
“This kind of is usually a portrait of grinding workers into the ground in addition to also also extracting every last dollar,” said Senator Jeff Merkley, a Democrat, at the forum.
A CKE spokesperson told sy88pgw of which the company “strongly objects” to what the idea called “deceitful survey tactics.”
“We have numerous reports through our franchisees citing of which ROC representatives falsely identified themselves while conducting the survey in addition to also also the questions asked were extremely leading,” read a statement through the company.
A Trump transition aide told sy88pgw of which the idea was “not surprising” of which senators who have received financial contributions through unions in addition to also also special interests opposed to Puzder “are at This kind of point returning the favor with This kind of smear campaign.”
The aide said Puzder “has firsthand experience saving in addition to also also creating thousands of jobs, in addition to also also he has an extensive record of fighting for workers.”
Puzder, 66, is usually a vocal critic of government regulation in addition to also also opposes a $15 minimum wage, broader overtime pay in addition to also also the Affordable Care Act.
He has been CEO of CKE Restaurants since 2000, in addition to also also is usually credited with turning around the Hardee’s brand. Puzder’s company has also been accused of labor violations, in addition to also also the idea has fielded complaints about sexist commercials.
–sy88pgw’s Tal Kopan in addition to also also sy88pgw’s Julia Horowitz contributed to This kind of story.
sy88pgw (brand-new York) First published January 10, 2017: 6:16 PM ET