President-elect Donald Trump selected Andrew Puzder the CEO at Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. fast food chains, as his Labor secretary nominee, said a source close to Trump’s decision.
Puzder, who is 66, is an outspoken critic of regulation in government. He opposes the Affordable Care Act, broader overtime pay and the minimum wage of $15 being asked for by many groups.
The Department of Labor oversees the job market in the U.S., regulates the U.S. workplace and produces valuable statistics such as the unemployment rate, which underpin the U.S. economic policy.
Puzder is the CKE Restaurants CEO and has been at that post for the past 16 years. He was credited with turning Hardee’s around, but his company has faced accusations of labor violations and took complaints about commercials that were deemed sexist.
His appointment requires Senate confirmation and will come during a time when restaurants as well as other industries that are low paying have been hit with pressure to increase their hourly wages.
It is likely that Puzder would resist those types of pressure if he were Labor secretary.
The U.S. fast-food industry has been targeted in particular by nationwide protests that have pushed for the $15 per hour wage, which is up from the $7.25 that is currently required.
Last March, in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Puzder said the $15 minimum wage, sick leave that is mandatory and the Affordable Care act raise the costs of employers and force them into relying more on technology that is automated.
He wrote that while technology is becoming cheaper, government mandates are making labor far more expensive.
Puzder in March also said that he was not opposed to an increase in the $7.25 minimum wage or linking it to inflation, although he said jumping it to $15 per hour would cost workers their jobs.
Puzder is also one of the country’s harshest critics of a current White House administration rule requiring workers earning under $47,500 and working 40 hours weekly to be paid overtime. This rule is currently on hold due to an injunction by a federal judge last month.
Under Puzder, Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s have been heavily criticized for lewd commercials that target young males. An ad for the 2015 Super Bowl featured what was seemingly a nude model.
If he were confirmed, Puzder would replace Tom Perez who Obama nominated in 2013.
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