Trump Appoints Andy Puzder as Labor Secretary

By Allen Smith, J.D. Dec 8, 2016
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CKE Restaurants CEO Andrew Puzder, center, departs Trump Tower in New York, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

President-elect Donald Trump named Andrew Puzder, the chief executive officer of CKE Restaurants—the parent company of the Carl's Jr. and Hardee's burger chains—as secretary of labor Dec. 8.

As labor secretary, Puzder will oversee the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs and the Employee Benefits Security Administration, among other divisions.

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Retailers praised the choice. "Andrew Puzder is someone with the real-world experience to understand workforce issues and how jobs are created," said David French, National Retail Federation senior vice president for government relations.

But Debra Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women & Families criticized the selection, saying that the "nomination betrays America's workers, especially women and people of color whose rights he has worked to erode."

Opponent of Sharp Increase in Minimum Wage

Puzder has written articles for The Wall Street Journal opposing broad increases in the minimum wage. He has argued against raising the federal minimum wage, which is $7.25 an hour, no higher than $9 an hour.

He also has called for cutting back regulations he has said stifle the growth of restaurants. (The Wall Street Journal)

Automation Proponent

Puzder is a proponent of replacing workers with kiosks and other automated technology to keep labor costs down. He has predicted automation will spring up beyond airports and grocery stores and spread to restaurants, and he has partly blamed rising minimum wages for this trend. (Business Insider)

Critic of Overtime Rule

A harsh critic of the overtime rule, Puzder has said, "This new rule will simply add to the extensive regulatory maze the Obama administration has imposed on employers, forcing many to offset increased labor expenses by cutting costs elsewhere. In practice, this means reduced opportunities, bonuses, benefits, perks and promotions." (Forbes)

Overregulation Adversary

Puzder has echoed Trump's calls for deregulation, stating, "President-elect Trump has called for an immediate halt to all new federal regulations and a very thorough agency-level review of previous regulations to see which need to be scrapped." (USA Today)

Opponent of Affordable Care Act

A strong opponent of the Affordable Care Act, Puzder maintains it has helped create a recession within the restaurant industry because rising premiums have left the middle class with less money to spend dining out. (The New York Times)


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