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Donald Trump continues to astound with his administration appointments. So far, every single person he's appointed has an anti-LGBTQ record, with his vice president, Mike Pence, being among the worst. But for working LGBTQ people, the appointment of Andrew Puzder as secretary of Labor will be devastating.
Puzder is the CEO of CKE Restaurants, which owns the Carl's Jr. and Hardee's fast-food chains, among others. You may know Carl's Jr. and Hardee's for their racy, sexist television ads that depict scantily clad women eating cheeseburgers in various alluring poses. When asked about the blatantly misogynist ads in an interview, Puzder replied, "I like beautiful women eating burgers in bikinis. I think it's very American."
Women -- LGBTQ or not -- shouldn't expect much sympathy or support from the Trump-Puzder Labor Department.
Women, however, are just the beginning. Do you remember this past summer when the Republican National Committee passed the most anti-LGBTQ platform in history at their convention? Puzder was a member of the GOP platform committee, which was responsible for drafting that filth.
Puzder, in his response to a question from The Hill about the over homophobia and transphobia in the platform replied, "However, we do support nondiscrimination." Where that made it into the GOP platform is still an open question.
Keep in mind, unless President Trump reverses course, the Labor Department's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs is responsible for enforcing the LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections enacted by President Obama in 2014. More than 20 percent of the U.S. workforce is protected by this executive order.
Discrimination, of course, isn't the only concern. LGBTQ people -- particularly LGBTQ workers of color -- are overrepresented in low-wage jobs. According to the National LGBTQ Task Force, more than 750,000 LGBTQ people would be positively affected by an increase to the minimum wage. Puzder, who makes between $4 million and $10 million per year in salary and bonuses, is a fervent opponent of a minimum wage increase.
In fact, Puzder opposes pretty much every increase in compensation for working people. He's also an outspoken opponent of President Obama's increase in the salary limit for paying overtime to salaried employees. He says that automation -- or read another way, eliminating jobs -- could be the best outcome of the expansion of overtime. Not surprisingly, Puzder's company has been accused of frequently violating existing overtime rules.
Considering that record, Puzder's appointment to head the Department of Labor makes very clear that protecting working people is not on the agenda of the incoming Trump administration.
During the campaign, Trump said he would "do everything in his power to protect LGBTQ citizens." That promise is proving just as hollow as all his others. His appointments prove that LGBTQ people stand to lose most of our gains of the past decade under a Trump presidency. We can't allow that to happen.
Puzder is one of many threats to the LGBTQ community, to women, to immigrants, to people of color, to working people. From Trump's vice president onward, we've seen nothing but disdain for the rights of most Americans who aren't wealthy, white, straight, cisgender, and male.
It's time to speak out, to stand up, to join the resistance. There are many organizations out there that are already making plans to protect your rights. Support them. Become a member. Donate your time, expertise, and cash to help them. LGBTQ organizations, women's organizations, immigrant organizations, civil rights organizations, and more need your support now more than ever. And we need them more than ever.
Without a federal nondiscrimination law, like the Equality Act, and with more than half of LGBTQ Americans living in states with no statewide nondiscrimination protections, a union contract may be the only protection an LGBTQ working person in these states can obtain.
Not only that, but union contracts can also protect working people from pay cuts, wage theft, overtime abuse, and more. Labor unions are also a target of the incoming administration, which is all the more reason we must band together.
Solidarity needs to be the operating principle for every progressive group going forward. They will try to divide us, to peel off certain groups, and keep us squabbling amongst ourselves. But we can't. We have to stick together and we must fight. We can't allow this aberration to become the new normal.
It won't be easy. There will be bumps along the way, but we have no choice -- we have to stand up and fight back.