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.
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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