The potential for the growing restaurant industry to revive a lifeless job market is limited by both bad jobs and racial segregation. The industry’s many poverty-wage jobs are disproportionately held by people of color and the livable-wage jobs, mostly server and bartender positions in fine dining restaurants, are disproportionately held by Whites.
Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC) United released, “Secretary of Labor Violations?: The Low Road Business Model of CKE Restaurants Inc.’s Andrew Puzder,” the results of a survey of CKE workers on their wages and working conditions. The report is especially timely. Andrew Puzder — CKE Restaurants CEO and spokesperson of the National Restaurant Association (NRA) — is the Trump Administration nominee for the United States Secretary of the Department of Labor. CKE workers report high rates of wage and hour violations, age discrimination, and sexual harassment, particularly from customers.
From December 19, 2016 through January 7, 2017, the Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United conducted outreach via social media channels to current CKE Restaurants Inc. workers, seeking respondents to a 45-question survey on wages and working conditions at CKE Restaurants Inc. ROC United communicated with 891 CKE workers, and 564 received completed surveys.
The survey results are no surprise. Andrew Puzder is one of the most active members of the National Restaurant Association (NRA), an organization that has opposed improvements in workplace conditions and minimum wage increases around the country, especially for tipped workers earning the subminimum wage.
Under Puzder’s leadership, CKE Restaurants has established a record of multiple lawsuits for discriminating against workers and failing to pay overtime, and has been accused of firing workers for protesting against poverty wages. Workers at CKE restaurants spoke of extensive wage and hour violations and excessive rates of sexual harassment. Considering the mission of the U.S. Department of Labor – promoting the welfare of wage earners, improving working conditions, and enforcing worker protections – these findings call into question the viability of Andrew Puzder for the role of the nation’s Secretary of Labor.
Key findings include:
* Questionnaire about working conditions draws unprecedented response from CKE Restaurants workers eager to share their stories about wage theft and sexual harassment on the job. 891 CKE workers reached out to ROC, and 564 completed surveys about their working conditions. Seventy-six percent of respondents were women.
* Sixty-six percent of women at CKE Restaurants reported experiencing unwanted sexual behaviors at work, compared to 40% of women in the fast food industry overall, according to a national survey. Women working at CKE reported over 1.5 times the rate of sexual harassment reported for the industry overall.
* Due to severe understaffing in the company, almost a third (28%) of respondents worked off-the-clock. Approximately one-third reported a wide range of wage theft violations, including not receiving required breaks, and overtime pay.
* Seventy-nine percent of CKE Restaurants workers reported that they have prepared or served food while sick, this is higher than the rate in any of the cities we have previously surveyed.