Fast food executive Andrew Puzder, the controversial nominee for U.S. Secretary of Labor, withdrew Wednesday, numerous news outlets reported, drawing applause from unions and other groups that had opposed him.
The withdrawal “shows the power of collective action by workers,” said national AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on Twitter.
Numerous organizations, led by the Fight for 15 movement, held hundreds of demonstrations in recent weeks opposing the nomination.
The decision came as Senate Republicans reportedly told the White House that Puzder was losing support in their party and would not get the minimum number of 50 votes needed to be confirmed. Puzder had been scheduled to make his first appearance before the Senate Thursday.
“Puzder was an outrageous pick for Labor Secretary and to head an agency responsible for promoting ‘the welfare of wage earners, job seekers and retirees,’” the Communications Workers of America said in a statement. “His long record of public statements and action opposing a fair minimum wage, overtime pay and other basic policies that support working families made him an unacceptable choice.”
As CEO of CKE, the corporation that owns Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. fast food restaurants, Puzder has faced numerous charges of wage theft, sexual harassment and anti-union activity.
In recent weeks, he acknowledged employing a housekeeper who was undocumented and failing to pay the proper employment taxes.
“In nominating Mr. Puzder for labor secretary, President Trump chose for the department that champions workers someone whose views and values are not only antithetical to what workers want and need, but also out of step with mainstream America,” said Christine Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project.
“Americans support raising the minimum wage, expanding eligibility for overtime pay, ensuring safe and healthy workplaces, extending affordable health care, protecting workers’ retirement savings, safeguarding the right to organize and bargain collectively, and creating good, family-sustaining jobs.
“We urge President Trump to listen to the American people, remain mindful of the promises he made to working families during the campaign and in his inaugural address, and nominate a candidate for secretary of labor who will always put workers first and foremost.”