Philadelphia activists predict pain from Trump picks

Philadelphia activists predict pain from Trump picks
Sam Newhouse

Labor and civil rights organizers rallied in Philadelphia against two more of President Donald Trump’s pending appointments to key posts in the government, claiming they could upend key legal protections for workers, LGBT people and the environment.

“The Department of Labor is supposed to be that agency in government that has my best interests at heart as a worker,” Terry Williams, a member of 32BJ service employees’ union, said at a rally outside a Center City McDonald’s on Monday to oppose Labor secretary nominee Andrew Puzder.

Puzderisthe CEO of CKE Restaurants, which owns Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr.

“He [Puzder] is the very type of individual they’re supposed to be protecting me from,” said Williams, 53, who has worked for McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s over the years. “That’s like putting the rat in charge of protecting the cheese.”

Union members carried pictures of Puzder as the “Hamburglar” and signs with Puzder’s quote about the benefits of machines over human employees.

“They’re always polite, they always upsell, they never take a vacation, they never show up late, there’s never a slip-and-fall, or an age, sex or race discrimination case,”he told Business Insider in 2016.

As 32BJ and other labor organizations fight for a $15 an hour minimum wage, they believe Puzder would oppose any raises in the wage.

“We just want enough to make it —enough to buy a hamburger in the joint you work in after you pay for a transpass,” Williams said. “Why don’t you just shoot me? Put me out of my misery.”

Meanwhile, leaders of a diverse range of advocacy groups met in City Hall to voice their opposition to Trump’s conservative Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch.

They included leaders from Planned Parenthood, labor unions, and as gun control, environmental conservation and gay rights groups.

“Judge Gorsuch’s record on LGBTQ equality sends shivers up my spine,” said Levana Layendecker of Equality PA in a statement. “He wrote that the courts are being abused by progressives to guarantee fundamental rights like equality for all — when that’s exactly the purpose of the courts. And … he specifically pointed to LGBTQ rights.”

Puzder’s hearing is scheduled for Thursday. Some Republicans have indicated they do not support his nomination. Gorsuch’s hearing remains to be scheduled.