To the Editor:
The nomination of Andrew Puzder as secretary of labor is a direct assault on the people of Maine.
Many people work in low-wage jobs and would love a full-time job with sick leave, health insurance and schedules that allow them to raise a family as responsible parents who can be with their children in the evenings or on weekends instead of having to work multiple low-wage, part-time jobs without benefits.
Maine residents and workers deserve to be protected from unfair labor laws, and instead, Donald Trump has nominated someone who is on record as believing that workers are only useful if they can enhance profits for shareholders.
Puzder is on record and wanting to gut labor laws to keep workers “in their place.” He believes that low wages are an incentive for people to work harder.
Instead of wanting to support the rights of workers, as the labor secretary is supposed to, Trump has nominated someone who has fought against the needs of low-wage workers and has been taken to court for violating some states’ labor laws such as giving workers a half-hour break during a five-hour work period.
Pudzer does not believe in Medicare, food stamps or health insurance for low-wage workers. He believes that workers should be kept down by harsh policies, and he has a history of misogyny while valuing inequality in the workplace. Ironically, he does favor immigrant labor only because of the wage-savings for employers.
His is the antithesis of someone who should be in charge of being the “watchdog” for labor rights and fairness.
Members of Maine’s low-wage working class, many of whom were lured into voting for Trump with the mistaken belief he was in favor of helping them out, need protection from the very type of predatory cabinet nominee like Puzder.
I urge Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King to reject all of Trump’s nominees and hold the higher moral ground. Unqualified and dangerous nominees threaten to destroy, not protect, “the way life should be” in Maine.
These nominees will make living in Maine and raising a family harder, not easier, for Maine’s working class.
We all lose when the good people of Maine cannot make a decent living. We all lose if people feel they cannot start families because of low wages and lack of quality health insurance. We all lose if the people keeping Maine’s economy going don’t feel protected in their workplaces but instead feel exploited, overworked and underpaid.
Janet Lester Clifford