Donald Trump has nominated anti-minimum wage fast food CEO Andy Puzder to serve as Secretary of Labor. Senator Patty Murray of Washington is a top member of the committee which will hold Puzder's confirmation hearings. That means she’ll get to ask him questions — face to face, while he’s under oath and before the public.
We asked you to join us is urging Patty Murray to ask all the tough questions at Puzder's confirmation hearing: about wage theft at the chains he runs, about why he wants to replace his workers with robots, and about why he opposes the minimum wage.
And we asked you for suggestions too. And wow did you deliver! Here are some of the questions you suggested. Senator Murray please take note!
"Patty Murray explain that the restaurant industry in Seattle is thriving. Not just in Seattle but all cities. Where I live on Friday night at 6:00 you cannot get into a restaurant without having to wait. When we lived in Denver it was the same. Explain to us, the people, how Mr. Puzder justifies not raising the minimum wage. And, we don't want the same ole', same ole' excuses he uses over and over. Mr. Puzder don't go backwards, 'move forward.'" — Marcene S.
"In today's service oriented economy, we need supported employees that includes fair wages & benefits to avoid employee turn-over and poor customer service. Customers want quality service by employees, who are not overworked & underpaid enough to not have decent shelter, food & necessary utilities. I have worked hard from 1968 to 2002 at full-time employment jobs and have not made more than $60,000/yr. There are millions of permanently disabled individuals that require supported employment with shelter, food & utilities subsidies because of not being able to work full time. " — Michaelene M.
"How many times was he convicted or he settled?" — Virginia H.
"If we no longer have an economy based on manufacturing, and employers in low-wage service industries are free to pay non-living wages, how will people be able to feed and house themselves and their families? How do you propose to close the wage gap and bring a living income to the lower and middle class?" — Robin S.
"Isn't he running for the wrong post? Secretary of Labor should be looking out for labor, not corporate interests." — Fred N.
"If you get rid of the workers who will buy the products they once made?" — Richard R.
"Will he enforce overtime pay for workers and provide living wage increases based on the minimum wage providing above poverty level wages?" — Gail P
"Ask him how many workers have to work a second job to support their families? How many are relying on foodstamps and Medicaid because they can't afford insurance because of low pay at his restaurants? Why doesn't he recognize that higher wages actually boost the economy ? Which is a proven fact." — Roger N.
"Ask him any questions that would push him to address the welfare of his employees and if he cares about his employees." — Evelyn U.
"Ask him does he plan on working on behalf of the Hard working people in America." — Joseph V.
"If every company or institution in the U.S. were to replace human workers with robots or A.I. programs as you wished to do for low-skilled workers in your company, tell me, who would be left to buy the products the companies sell, when so many previous customers are out of work?" — Erin N.
"How does he plan to add living wage jobs for Americans? What about also providing family leave and daycare, so that children are able to bond appropriately with their parents, and are supported in childhood learning and self esteem, so that we can raise new generations of good students who will qualify for good jobs of their own?" — Janet W.
"What will you do to reduce the disparity of income between the top 1 % and the bottom 50% of the country ? How will you redistribute wealth to the working middle and lower class folks in our country?" — Steve M.
"Given Trump's expressed thoughts about regulation, I really worry about the safety of our workers." — Christine D.
"As a recently retired food safety inspector I would remind him that food code doesn't allow workers to work while ill. Where does he stand on paid sick leave for food workers? Remind him that Food Borne Illness kills more than 5000 people each year and causes hundreds of thousands hospitalizations." — Tamara C.
"Increased wages enables those workers to purchase more goods and services which creates more jobs." — Aussie R.
"As a former operating room nurse, I would remind/challenge him....doctors and hospitals depend on nurses and those under their supervision to care for patients. It is often the support staff (orderlies, housekeepers, sterile processing staff, and dietary personnel) who receive minimal pay. These individuals are vital to patient care and must not be treated as less when their salaries are considered. I've hired students in these roles who have become doctors and hospital analysts, as well as, single mothers who became clinical nursing leaders. Don't forget those who serve." — Kathryn L.
"Is it okay for his lowest paid employee to make 1/100th what he does, considering they are the ones working to make him money?" — John H.
"Ask him if he thinks he could support his family on the wage that he pay his workers." — Greg J.
"Mr. Puzder seems to be opposed to any regulation that may increase the cost of doing business / may diminish profits. Labor is one of his biggest costs. What does he do to minimize his labor costs? What would he do as Secretary of Labor to help enterprises minimize their labor costs?
Is he opposed to unions and unionization? What rights does he think employees should have as opposed to rights they currently have? Does he believe in social Darwinism?" — Jerry T.
"How can you justify wages that prevent a full-time adult worker from providing a two-bedroom rental home in just about ANY city in this country? Have you ever done a food-days work in a fast food restaurant and attempted to live on the salary a worker would make? Is it appropriate for fast food restaurant owners to advise and expect workers to receive government assistance? How is that not the govt. subsidizing your payroll? And how is this not a case of corporations forcing “big government” on us—which the GOP asserts that it is in opposition to?" — Kim S.
"Why should the taxpayer be able to give him more money because he won't pay more and therefore it falls on the rest of us to compensate?" — Margaret
"The stated purpose of the Department of Labor: "The purpose of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights." What, in Pudzer's record, suggests that he will fulfill this purpose of the department?" — Melinda M.
"It's deplorable that a CEO of a company that has been in violation of labor rules is then asked to be the Secretary of Labor." — Mike N.
"President-elect Trump ran his campaign on bringing jobs back to the US, increasing the overall USA labor force. Yet this candidate for Secretary of Labor would rather outsource the work - to machines! How does this candidate plan to lead the effort to manage and increase jobs for human beings if his personal stance is so opposite?" — Danika S.
"Ask him if he understands how hateful it feels to workers to be treated like robots. What does he expect them to live on? "The laborer is worthy of his hire" does not mean s/he is only as worthy as the wage he earns. It means every worker deserves to be paid fairly - the profits should not belong just to the person at the top, but shared." — Ruth S.
"Ask Puzder who stimulates the US economy more; middle class folks with a little more disposable income or a smaller number of ultra wealthy folks deciding between a larger yacht or to just sock the extra $$$ in an offshore account?" — Charles K
"Ask him if he's willing to compromise: in return for allowing his employees a $15 minimum wage and the right to form a union, the union would allow their CEO a maximum wage (to be determined by the union)." — Craig C.
"Why do people who have plenty of money want to prevent others who don't have enough to live on from earning at least a living wage? It is beyond me that even those like me, on Social Security have to work 5 part time jobs just to make ends meet and pay for medications that Big Pharma inflates to the point that people have to choose between food on the table and their much needed medications. I am 69 years old I would really like to retire." — Laurice B.
"Do you think that all worker should earn a living wage of at least $15 an hour with good benefits and work full-time if they want to?" — Donald L.
"Ask if he will overrule the states who have voted to raise the minimum wage." — Jill G.
"Removing workers might save money in the short run, but won't you eventually have less customers who can afford to eat there?" — John S.
"Do you understand that we can't have a healthy economy without healthy wages?" — Guy Perkins
"Before you take this position, we want to see you live, for a month, only on the lowest salary that you pay your workers." — Lawrence T.
"Ask him if he's able to live on the wages he pays his lowest paid employees." — Anne H.
"What does he do with all the money he keeps from his workers?" — Brian O.
"People who work full time anywhere shouldn't need food stamps to survive." — Carol G.
"What does he think the reasons are for people having to work multiple jobs in order to pay their bills and feed their family?" — J.
"Ask him why he does not recognize that when wages go up, the entire welfare of the economy also increase." — Emily W.
"Should the Government rather than the COMPANY, (rather than the franchise owner) be responsible for the costs of the current assistance needed by under paid low hourly workers?" — Michael B.
"What do you think is a living wage for adult fast food workers?" — Cary
"Ask him who made him the judge of how much the minimum wage should be: shouldn't it be the people who are the judge, and don't the people favor a living wage and fair benefits?" — Angela B.
"How much is enough? What will it take to temper your greed?" — Dennis M