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Trump Chooses Fast Food Owner Andy Puzder for Labor Secretary

Trump Chooses Fast Food Owner Andy Puzder for Labor Secretary

Puzder’s company owns Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s.

President-elect Donald Trump has chosen Andy Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants, as his Secretary of Labor. His company owns Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s.

Puzder has long criticized the Affordable Care Act and workplace regulations, which he claims “have stifled growth in the restaurant industry.” He also pushed back against raising the minimum wage past $9 an hour.

Puzder worked on Trump’s campaign as an advisor. He drew praise from Trump transition spokesman Jason Miller:

“He’s someone who is both a job creator and understands what we need to do to help get our economy moving for everybody,” Mr. Miller said.

Bloomberg reported:

Puzder has said Obama’s health-care overhaul hurt his company’s growth and forced it to rely more on part-time workers. Some Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. locations also are shifting to touch-screen kiosks. Those stores need fewer employees behind the counter, Puzder said, a move made desirable by what he called ill-advised government policies and taxes.

In an interview in September, Puzder decried the U.S. labor participation rate, which has been falling steadily since peaking at 67.3 percent in 2000. It was 62.7 percent in November even as the unemployment rate fell to 4.6 percent. He said there’s a need for employment opportunities at the low end and high end.

“Low-skill jobs are important because that’s what gives you access to the high-level jobs,” he said. “If you focus on redistributing income, you’re not going to create growth.”

Publications have noted that Puzder could possibly go after President Barack Obama’s overtime rule. Now, a federal judge in Texas has delayed the rule, but the Justice Department has appealed.

If the law remains dead, though, it will highly unlikely find new life under Trump and Puzder:

In an op-ed published in May, Puzder described the overtime rule as “another barrier to the middle class rather than a springboard.” He warned that the rule would “cause some employers to reclassify salaried employees as hourly” and that this reclassification “would limit the ability of entry level managers to allocate their time to satisfy the needs of the business and their personal lives.”

For his part, Trump said in August that “Rolling back the overtime regulation is just one example of the many regulations that need to be addressed. … We would love to see a delay or a carve-out of sorts for our small business owners.”

Puzder also retaliated against regulations to post and how to post nutritional information on menus:

Puzder testified before Congress that changes would cost his company’s stores $1.5 million — the cost of building one and a half new restaurants.

As he described it to lawmakers, adding calorie information to the crowded menu boards in fast food restaurants means new signs, which take up more space and make it harder for customers to see into the food preparation area.

He also testified that, “Our drive thru menu boards are not amenable to menu labeling. They are simply too small and are designed for customer convenience and speed (which are generally the two reasons customers are in the drive thru to begin with). We are generally unable to make them larger as they are already as large as local zoning authorities allow us to make them. If we were allowed to make them larger, they would already be larger.”


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Comments He also back amnesty and replacement worker visas…

    Henry Hawkins in reply to EBL. | December 8, 2016 at 5:50 pm

    Yup. Puzder has been more Gang of Eight than the Gang of Eight. Very pro-amnesty.

    jimb82 in reply to EBL. | December 8, 2016 at 6:18 pm

    Where you stand depends on where you sit, sometimes. The CEO of a company that employs thousands of low-skill workers is naturally going to advocate for policies that keep his costs low. Essentially, what fast food is trading on isn’t quality, but low cost of their labor versus the buyer’s value of leisure. (The fast food buyer could always make his own sandwich, probably of better quality, but his leisure time is worth something, so he’s willing to outsource making food to someone else.) The higher the cost of labor to the fast food producer, the less fast food you sell. So it’s obvious that the CEO of a fast food company is going to advocate for policies that keep his labor costs low. Indeed, he has a fiduciary duty to his shareholders to do so.

    That is not necessarily what that same person is going to advocate for as Secretary of Labor of the United States of America. It’s a different job. Let’s not get too excited about what this guy may have advocated in the past while doing a job for his shareholders.

      Henry Hawkins in reply to jimb82. | December 8, 2016 at 7:17 pm

      Right. Records mean nothing. I’m not sure which is worse, being adamantly pro-amnesty, or being willing to switch one’s principles in and out depending on one’s job of the moment.

I’d guess a fast food CEO isn’t a fan of $15 minimum wage. This one’ll drive them nuts.

    Henry Hawkins in reply to BrokeGopher. | December 8, 2016 at 5:30 pm

    A little bit nuts. The Labor Dept isn’t near as sexy as the EPA, Secretary of State, Defense Dept. So many catastrophes and atrocities! Goodness, an earnest moonbat liberal hardly knows where to start!

At least we will have a Sec.Labor who knows what labor is.

Looks like Trump is keeping up the pressure—he may yet drive Lena Dunham and Barbra Streisand out of the country.

    Thane_Eichenauer in reply to tom swift. | December 9, 2016 at 1:07 am

    I would love if Lena Dunham and Barbra Streisand lived in Canada for a year. I could hope that they would learn something.

I would like to know on what planet he is able to build a new restaurant for $500,000.

cjharrispretzer | December 10, 2016 at 2:32 am

I’m hoping Puzder repeals the DOL Fiduciary Rule scheduled to go in effect this April. I’ve been a Financial Advisor for 20+ years and this is by FAR the most draconian thing to hit this business ever. I work for a major wirehouse. And even though this supposedly only affects IRA’s, it’s being implemented for all accounts for compliance reasons.
No one has sympathy for “Wall Street” brokerage firms, but I can’t stress enough what an earthquake this rule is in the financial advisory business. And it was pretty much unilaterally implemented by Obama over the heads of Republicans in Congress passing bills saying not to do this, and Obama vetoed it.
Not sure if everyone knows that Puzder was General Counsel for Fidelity before CKE, so he has a knowledge of the brokerage business.
This DOL Fiduciary rule is ripe for the repealing! I’m praying it gets done. In the meantime, all the major firms are moving forward as though it’s already in stone. It’s truly awful. I honestly know brokers who are planning to retire rather than endure the thicket of added regulation coming down on us.