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January 31, 2017

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

On January 30, food and farm rights groups delivered a letter to U.S. Senators calling them to oppose the nomination of Andrew Puzder as Labor Secretary. ActionAid USA was among the 100+ organizations that signed the letter. Puzder, the CEO of the company that runs Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr., has been known to violate labor laws. The text of the letter is below.

United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

January 30, 2017

RE: Nomination of Andrew Puzder as Secretary of Labor Dear Senators:

Our organizations urge you to oppose the nomination of Andrew Puzder as Secretary of Labor. This nomination represents another in a string of Trump administration appointments that betrays the President-elect’s promise to improve the lives of working people.

As CEO of CKE Restaurants, which operates Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, Puzder’s nomination to an agency charged with protecting working people is rife with conflicts of interest. Puzder’s company has faced numerous Department of Labor violations for failing to pay the minimum wage or overtime: Sixty percent of inspections of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s restaurants found labor law violations and Puzder has opposed both raising the minimum wage and enforcement of overtime rules and mandatory sick leave. Puzder’s confirmation would ensure that the interests of the fast food industry—and its large meat and food industry suppliers—would prevail over the needs of hard-working people in the food system who face some of the highest rates of food insecurity due to low wages and poor working conditions.

Contrary to what Puzder and other corporate leaders at the National Restaurant Association say about good working conditions in the restaurant sector, the majority of restaurant workers are women and people of color, making as little as $2.13 per hour and rely on tips to survive. These workers face disproportionate rates of poverty, discrimination, and sexual harassment and deserve a Labor Secretary who believes that, as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “All labor has dignity.” Instead, with the National Restaurant Association’s champion heading the Department of Labor, workers will have to rely on vocal opponents of labor regulations to protect their basic workplace rights.

On behalf of the many people and groups who are working for a better food system that provides nutritious food and livable wages and treats the land, farmers, and animals with respect, we the undersigned urge you to oppose the nomination of Andrew Puzder to Labor Secretary.

Puzder would be yet one more nominee working for the interests of big business over the interests of working people.


ActionAid USA

African American Cultural Center (US)

Agricultural Justice Project

Alliance for Fair Food Beyond Pesticides

Black Community, Clergy and Labor Alliance (BCCLA)

Black Urban Growers


Brighter Green

California Institute for Rural Studies

Center for Biological Diversity

Center for Food Safety

Center for Science in the Public Interest

Center for Urban Education for Sustainable Agriculture

Climate Justice Alliance

Coalition of Immokalee Workers


Common Ground Community

Community Alliance for Global Justice

Community Food and Justice Coalition

Compassion in World Farming

Corporate Accountability International

Dakota Resource Council

Domestic Fair Trade Association


El Comite de Apoyo a los Trabajadores Agricolas, The Farmworkers’ Support Committee

Family Farm Defenders

Farm Forward

Farmworker Association of Florida

Farmworker Justice

Food & Water Watch

Food Chain Workers Alliance

Food Democracy Now!

Food Empowerment Project

Food First

Food Shift

Food Tank


Foundation Earth

Friends of the Earth

GMO Inside

Grassroots Gardens WNY

Greater Grand Rapids Food Systems Council

Green America HEAL Food Alliance

Health & Medicine Policy Research Group

Health Care Without Harm

Idle No More Duluth

Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy

International Labor Rights Forum

Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement

Just Food

Land Stewardship Project

Laundry Workers Center

Laurie M. Tisch Center for Food, Education & Policy, Teachers College, Columbia University

Lucid Food

Midwest Pesticide Action Center

National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice

National Black Food & Justice Alliance

National Family Farm Coalition

National Young Farmers Coalition

Natural Resources Defense Council

NC Environmental Justice Network

New Mexico Public Health Association

Ninjas for Health

North American Climate, Conservation and Environment

Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York

Northwest Arkansas Workers Justice Center


Organic Consumers Association

Other Worlds

People’s Climate Movement NY

People’s Grocery

Pesticide Action Network

Phat Beets Produce

Pioneer Valley Workers Center

Real Food Challenge

Real Food for Kids

Real Food Media

ROC United

RootDown LA

Roots of Change

Rural Coalition/Coalición Rural

Sacramento Food Policy Council

Slow Food California

Slow Food Chicago

Slow Food USA

Small Planet Institute

Soil Generation

South Agassiz Resource Council

Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Southern California

Springfield Food Policy Council

Student/Farmworker Alliance

Sustainable Agriculture of Louisville (SAL)

Toxic Taters

Treasure Valley Food Coalition

Union of Concerned Scientists

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

US Food Sovereignty Alliance

Warehouse Worker Resource Center

Warehouse Workers for Justice


Workers’ Center of Central New York

Young Workers United