Democracy Now!

Labor

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  • President Trump has named longtime Republican lawyer Alex Acosta to be his new nominee to head the Labor Department after his first pick, fast-food CEO Andrew Puzder, withdrew Wednesday. We look at Acosta’s record with Alan Pyke, an editor with ThinkProgress, who argues Trump’s backup choice "has skeletons in his closet, too." Acosta has drawn scrutiny for his time as a division leader at the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division under President George W. Bush, where he oversaw a senior official who hired conservative lawyers who were actively opposed to the division’s mission, including the prosecution of voting rights violations and police abuse. In 2004, he played a key role in Bush’s final push to win the state of Ohio by backing Republican election officials accused of seeking to suppress voter turnout among blacks and Latinos.

  • Hundreds of fast-food workers plan to converge on the corporate offices of labor secretary nominee Andrew Puzder and demand the fast-food mogul withdraw his nomination. Puzder is head of the company that franchises the fast-food outlets Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. He is a longtime Republican donor who has been a vocal critic of raising the minimum wage, the Fight for 15 movement, expansion of overtime pay, paid sick leave and the Affordable Care Act. Puzder’s Senate confirmation hearing is scheduled for Thursday. The hearing has been postponed four times. For more, we speak with Saru Jayaraman, co-founder and co-director of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, or ROC United. The organization’s new report is titled "Secretary of Labor Violations?: The Low Road Business Model of CKE Restaurant Inc’s Andrew Puzder."

  • Today, hundreds of fast-food workers plan to converge on the corporate offices of labor secretary nominee Andrew Puzder and demand the fast-food mogul withdraw his nomination or be rejected by the Senate. The Washington Post reports Puzder’s chain restaurants, Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, have been the subject of multiple Labor Department investigations over wage theft, which have led the companies to pay nearly $150,000 in back pay to workers and more than $80,000 in penalties. The companies have also been cited with more than 30 health and safety violations. We speak with a shift leader at a Carl’s Jr. in Los Angeles for two years, Maggie Guerrero. She’s with Fight for 15 Los Angeles.

  • A recent survey by Restaurant Opportunities Centers United has found a shocking two-thirds of women working at labor secretary nominee Andrew Puzder’s restaurants experience sexual harassment at work. The report comes as Puzder is facing questions about past allegations of domestic violence against his ex-wife. For more, we speak with Saru Jayaraman of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, or ROC United.

  • In Kentucky, hundreds of demonstrators packed into the Capitol building Saturday to protest the state Legislature’s passage of a slew of controversial bills, including an anti-union "right-to-work" law and extreme anti-choice legislation that bans abortions after 20 weeks and requires a woman to have an ultrasound before having an abortion. The surprise emergency legislative session Saturday came after Republicans seized a supermajority in the House of Representatives, giving the Republicans control of the House, the Senate and the governorship for the first time in Kentucky state history. On Saturday, the Legislature also repealed a law that had guaranteed higher wages for workers on publicly financed construction projects. We go to Louisville, Kentucky, for an update from Richard Becker, a union organizer with Service Employees International Union, and we speak with Lisa Abbott, a community organizer with Kentuckians for the Commonwealth.

  • Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich responds to President-elect Donald Trump’s pick of fast-food CEO Andrew Puzder to become the next secretary of labor.

  • President-elect Donald Trump has picked fast-food CEO Andrew Puzder to become the next secretary of labor. Puzder is a longtime Republican donor who has been a vocal critic of raising the minimum wage, the Fight for 15 movement, expansion of overtime pay, paid sick leave and the Affordable Care Act. Puzder is also an anti-choice activist who has been accused of domestic violence. We get response from labor leader Mary Kay Henry, president of the Service Employees International Union, which represents over 2 million workers.

  • Donald Trump attacked union leader Chuck Jones on Twitter this week, after the president of United Steelworkers Local 1999 appeared on CNN criticizing Trump for breaking his promise to Carrier workers in Indiana. "I am proud of what Chuck Jones did," says Mary Kay Henry, international president of the Service Employees International Union, which represents 2 million workers in healthcare, public and property services. "We’re going to need to stand up and speak out and have each other’s backs and call out the lies of this administration and make it crystal clear that we’re not backing down."

  • The Service Employees International Union faced criticism for endorsing Hillary Clinton in November 2015 even though many labor activists saw Senator Bernie Sanders as the candidate with a stronger record on labor issues. Sanders was an early backer of the Fight for $15 movement, while Clinton faced criticism for her time serving on the board of Wal-Mart. SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry says she did not make a mistake in endorsing Clinton so early in the campaign.

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