Carl’s Jr. workers in Austin join national protest against Trump nominee

Austin cooks and cashiers who are part of the Fight for $15 led a protest in south Austin on Jan. 12, 2017. The local group protested Carl's Jr. (KXAN Photo/Frank Martinez)
Austin cooks and cashiers who are part of the Fight for $15 led a protest in south Austin on Jan. 12, 2017. The local group protested Carl's Jr. (KXAN Photo/Frank Martinez)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Around a dozen fast food workers gathered in front of the Carl’s Jr. burger restaurant on Slaughter Lane Thursday to protest President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee to be the next U.S. Labor secretary.

Andy Puzder, the nominee, is the CEO of CKE Restaurant Holdings, the parent company of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s. Puzder has said that large increases in the minimum wage would lead to job losses. Outgoing Labor Secretary Tom Perez, in contrast, has been an outspoken advocate for raising the federal minimum wage, the Associated Press reported last month.

Jessenia Adame said she’s protesting outside the fast food restaurant where she works to fight for an increased minimum wage. A mother of three, Adame says a $15 minimum wage would make a big difference for her family and her paycheck, compared to her current hourly pay of $9.50 an hour.

CKE Restaurants CEO Andy Puzder, left, and Governor Rick Perry talk during a news conference on Wednesday, August 6, 2014 in Austin, Texas to highlight Carl’s Jr.’s commitment to the state of Texas. This commitment includes a donation to the Houston-based Lone Survivor Foundation which benefits U.S. military service members and their families living in the state. (Jack Plunkett/AP Images for Carl's Jr.)
CKE Restaurants CEO Andy Puzder, left, and Governor Rick Perry talk during a news conference on Wednesday, August 6, 2014 in Austin, Texas to highlight Carl’s Jr.’s commitment to the state of Texas. (Jack Plunkett/AP Images for Carl’s Jr.)

The protest in Austin is one of two dozen planned nationwide Thursday ahead of Puzder’s confirmation hearing next week. The “Fight for $15” movement says their efforts have resulted in $62 billion in raises for America’s workers.

An hour after the Carl’s Jr. protest, the Texas AFL-CIO spoke across town on their efforts to raise the minimum wage in Texas.

State Sen. Jose Menendez, D-San Antonio, said if the movement gets an uprising of support, just in Bexar County alone — for example — a quarter of the population would get a pay raise. “We have got to stop putting people in the position where they have to choose between groceries and medication, between paying the light bill and the rent,” he said.

The Texas AFL-CIO says 29 states and the District of Columbia have minimum wages that are higher than the federal floor of $7.25 an hour.

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