President Donald Trump said he would fix the economy for working people. He said this during his campaign, talking to people like me — who go to work before the sun rises and return after it sets, but who still can’t pay the bills.
I work 20 hours one week, 38 hours another week at a Hardee’s as a cashier. I am paid $8.75 an hour, with no medical benefits and no holiday pay. I have three kids, and it’s hard to pay the rent making minimum wage.
So now Trump says the secretary of labor, who is supposed to protect working Americans like me, will be Andy Puzder. He’s the businessman who runs all the Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s fast food restaurants. He’s my top boss.
Puzder makes more in a day than I make in a whole year but he doesn’t want to raise the minimum wage. He supports eliminating health insurance for 30 million Americans. Meanwhile, 52 percent of fast-food workers rely on public assistance such as Medicaid because our wages are so low.
The labor secretary should protect American workers. The Department of Labor is supposed to make sure we are paid the wages we’re due and that we are safe on the job. But instead it looks like the Trump years are going to be about low pay, wage theft, sexual harassment and racial discrimination.
So I hope you understand that the need for working people to join together is more important than ever. This year, I became involved in the Fight for $15 — the movement to raise pay to $15 an hour and strengthen working Americans’ right to join a union. Together, we’ve won raises for working families, with $15 an hour in New York, California, Seattle and Washington, D.C. Home-care workers in Massachusetts and Oregon won $15-an-hour minimum wages. Huge companies, such as Facebook and Aetna, have raised minimum pay to $15 an hour or higher.
Puzder’s nomination means no support for economic security for working-class people like me. And to me that means one other thing: For the next four years, working men and women must join in the Fight for $15. Even if we have to take to the streets to make sure the president gets serious about fixing a broken economy, we are absolutely determined.
Natasha Jones, Hazel Park