Newsweek: Will Trump Be ‘The Champion of the American Worker’?
The Fairness Project's Jonathan Schleifer and NELP's Christine Owens
By Jonathan Schleifer and Christine Owens
December 15, 2016
Typically, when a president-elect announces his selection for labor secretary, the nation barely takes notice. It’s just not as sexy as secretary of state, as divisive as the attorney general or come with as much firepower as secretary of defense.
But the head of the Labor Department is no less consequential. After a campaign in which jobs played such a prominent role, the selection of fast-food CEO Andrew Puzder raises questions about President-elect Donald Trump’s commitment to improving the lives of 150 million working people.
Puzder’s history of putting profits before people by opposing reasonable increases to the minimum wage and leading a company that violates labor standards should be a concern to us all.
For many voters, this election was about good jobs today and a promise of economic opportunity for their kids tomorrow. These kitchen-table economic concerns meant so much that many voters were willing to discount Donald Trump’s divisive and often hate-filled rhetoric because he promised to shake things up and bring real change for working people.
We saw how conflicted many low-wage workers were on Election Night. While many feared what a Trump presidency might bring to them and their families, millions celebrated the overwhelming electoral success of minimum wage and paid sick leave ballot measures in four states.
These workers believed, like we do, that voters made their economic priorities clear and established the terms on which the success of the president would be judged: How working families fare over the next four years.
Now that Mr. Trump will be our president, his economic promises mean more than late-night tweets. How will the president-elect create the more than 25 million jobs as he promised? How will he bring back manufacturing plants and restore economic opportunity in hard-hit communities across the nation’s heartland?