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Well hello there, queers and allies who don’t want the gays to get fired for gaying it up; welcome to our attempt to stop Andy Puzder from being confirmed as the Secretary of Labor! We (Ali and Carrie, as per ushe) are going to put the must do now stuff right at the beginning, and then do some follow up questions after.
Call These Senators To Voice Your Concerns About Puzder
Who needs to call: people who live in Tennessee, Wyoming, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky, Maine, Louisiana, Indiana, Utah, Kansas and Alaska.
Who to call: HELP Committee Republicans. Here’s a list:
Lamar Alexander (TN) – 202-224-4944
Michael B. Enzi (WY) – 202-224-3424
Richard Burr (NC) – 202-224-3154
Johnny Isakson (GA) – 202-224-3643
Rand Paul (KY) – 202-224-4343
Susan Collins (ME) – 202-224-2523
Bill Cassidy, M.D. (LA) – 202-224-5824
Todd Young (IN) 202-224-5623
Orrin Hatch (UT) – 202-224-5251
Pat Roberts (KS) – 202-224-4774
Lisa Murkowski (AK) – 202-224-6665
Tim Scott (SC) – 202-224-6121
What to say:
Hello, my name is [YOUR NAME] and I am a constituent of [SENATOR’S NAME] from [CITY WHERE YOU LIVE]. My address is [ADDRESS]. I’m calling to urge [SENATOR’S NAME] to vote against Andy Puzder’s confirmation as Secretary of Labor. The fact that his corporation, CKE Restaurants, has consistently been cited for labor law violations should be enough to disqualify him outright. If he cannot be trusted to enforce and obey the law within a single company, he cannot be allowed to set policy at a federal level. Mr. Puzder has also expressed opposition to overtime pay and sick leave, which are popular policies across the aisle and make-or-break for working families.
Please feel free to personalize your script and make it sound more natural to you, but please stick to this message. This is a message tailored to Senate Republicans, and that is who you are talking to.
What to do if you don’t live in those states: talk to EVERYONE you know who does and share this far and wide. Keep in mind your audience when you’re talking to people—if your friend or family member is progressive, go ahead and share this article, that’s fine. If they aren’t or you’re not sure, talk to them, text or email them instead and express that you’re sure you can both agree one one thing: that someone being confirmed to a cabinet position needs to be more qualified than this. Someone tasked with the overseeing the Department of Labor shouldn’t be an ethical quagmire when it comes to their own business practices. Andy Puzder is. Tell them to fight for the best cabinet, and that you’re confident that the Trump administration can find a better nominee.
When to take action: IMMEDIATELY. If you’re in any of the above-mentioned states, pick up the phone and call now. If you’re not, mobilize your network and share this information on social media. Puzder’s preliminary hearing with the Senate HELP Committee was just scheduled for Thursday, 2/16. We have two days to voice our opinions. Likely a little more time after that, but better safe than sorry.
Alrighty, now for some questions:
Why These Senators?
These are the Republicans on the Senate HELP (Health, Education Labor & Pensions) Committee. You’ve probably seen videos of the Democrats of this committee, people like Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Al Franken. They already think Puzder is harmful and unethical. You can call them too and tell them good job, they don’t hear that enough! But for this action to have a turkey’s chance on Thanksgiving, it’s the Republicans we need.
Why Aren’t We All Just Calling These Senators?
Well, we can’t. Or rather, many of us can’t. Those of us who don’t live in the above mentioned states can’t call those senators. They don’t have to listen to us. They’re only going to listen to people who live in those states. Please don’t clog the phone lines with your non-constituent calls, and please don’t pretend to be from the area. First off, we’re ethical, honest people. Second off, if they hear of people doing that, these senators may start to ignore their constituents. So don’t do it! Actual real constituents are enough!
And all of these senators, when they begin receiving these calls, are gonna talk to each other. And they might decide that recommending Puzder for the next step in the process is a bad idea.
So why is labor a queer issue?
Carrie: I’m as happy as the next gal about Obergefell v. Hodges and reasonably confident that the Supreme Court will keep it in place—but let’s be real, if you can get married Saturday and get fired for it on Monday, we’ve still got bigger fish to fry. Marriage equality isn’t a guarantee of economic security; queer people, regardless of economic or relationship status, need laws on the books that will ensure our safety and value in the workplace. Andy Puzder certainly hasn’t been a paragon of ethics in any of his dealings so far. I doubt he’ll be very sympathetic to the idea of workplace protection—and that’s not even getting into his opinions on the minimum wage, sick and family leave, child labor, or overtime pay.
Basically, labor law is one of those things that cuts across the entire swath of the queer experience and affects every single intersection we occupy. We need a Department of Labor that is for workers and not against them, and a Secretary who will lead the charge. Andy Puzder’s about as far from that guy as you’re gonna find.
Ali: Okay, so everything that Carrie said. PLUS! I went to this talk/debrief session at Columbia Law on November 9th, 2016. Apart from learning that lawyers were about to be the heroes that save us (which has turned out to be REALLY FUCKING ACCURATE), I also heard an interesting opinion from Professor Barenberg, who teaches Labor Law. One of the things he sad was that both parties have let unions atrophy. Organized labor doesn’t fall for con men like President Trump. Unorganized labor, though, does. Much like why I felt so strongly about education, labor is also how we fix this. And Puzder is pretty anti-union. Not someone I want at the helm of Labor.