Andy Puzder, Donald Trump’s nominee for labor secretary, comes from an industry where wage theft is troublingly common.
For nearly four years, Oliwia Pac has been working at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, assisting wheelchair users and unaccompanied minors and sometimes providing security services for the airlines. When it comes time to get her paycheck every two weeks, she always worries about what she’ll find. Over the years, she says, the company she works for has often played with her timesheets. For example, if she works overtime at security, a job that pays a base rate of $11.50, she says she’ll find the hours listed under her wheelchair assistant position—which, because it’s a tipped position, pays only $8.75.
When that kind of thing happens, says Pac, who is also an activist with Fight for $15, her managers make excuses. “I heard recently a co-worker who was supposed to be getting 30 hours of overtime didn’t see any of that money,” she told me.
Allegations of wage theft were widespread last year at O’Hare, and airport workers went on strike to protest low pay in November. But the sorts of abuses reported by Pac and her co-workers are common throughout the country—and the Trump administration is unlikely to do much about it.