Worker safety advocates are challenging the likely next Secretary of Labor to address job safety issues during his Senate hearing. Immigrant reform advocates question whether he’ll defend the interests of American workers.

Andrew Puzder, rumored to be the top contender for the top post at the Department of Labor (DOL), is CEO of CKE Restaurants, a major fast-food employer.

What he's learned

“If Mr. Puzder is nominated as secretary of labor, we’d like to hear what he’s learned about workplace safety during his tenure in the fast food industry,” said Jessica Martinez, co-director of the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (National COSH). Martinez currently serves on the national advisory committee for U.S. OSHA. In March 2015, National COSH – in partnership with the Fight for $15 campaign –conducted a survey of fast food workers which revealed that 4 out of 5 fast food workers had suffered burns on the job during the previous 12 months. More than half of fast food employees suffered multiple burns.

“President-elect Trump has identified protecting U.S. jobs as one of his top priorities,” said Marcy Goldstein-Gelb, co-executive director of National COSH. “We believe safety on the job is also crucial, so that every worker can go home safely at the end of his or her shift. If Andrew Puzder is nominated as secretary of labor, it’s important that Americans hear about his plans to reduce workplaces illnesses, injuries and fatalities.”

Support for guest workers

Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR),  said President-elect Trump’s choice of Andrew Puzder to run the DOL “raises questions and concerns.”

Stein said Puzder has lobbied for greater access to foreign guest workers to maximize corporate profits in his company.

“Based on Puzder’s support for increased guest workers, can struggling American workers count on him to maintain tight labor markets that promote wage increases? Are his positions advocating ‘a pathway to adjusted status for those here illegally now,’ consistent with the interests of American workers who have been undermined by illegal immigration, or the Trump administration’s goal of reinstating the rule of law and putting Americans back to work?

“The outgoing Secretary of Labor prioritized the interests of illegal aliens over those of American workers. The American people need to be reassured that the incoming Labor Secretary will not prioritize the interests of cheap labor employers over the interests of those same American workers.”