Andrew Puzder’s restaurant knowledge will be useful as Labor secretary
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Burdened by a steady pattern of overregulation, employers across this country should welcome the nomination of one of their own to be secretary of Labor. Andrew Puzder not only brings an entrepreneurial spirit that has driven him to be a successful CEO, but a deep understanding of how the government and the business community can work together to support job creation and economic growth.

Puzder has a record of growing businesses and creating jobs. He joined CKE Restaurants, the parent company of Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr, during a period when the company faced an uncertain future due to financial difficulties. Under Puzder’s leadership, CKE Restaurants moved into a period of significant economic growth. Today, the company is one of the largest employers in the country and generates nearly $1.4 billion in annual revenues.

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Critics have been trying to distort Puzder’s positions and set the terms for his upcoming confirmation hearing. They will try to take past statements out of context and point to examples where Puzder has made some difficult business decisions, as evidence that he is anti-worker. Puzder isn’t afraid to speak his mind. But those of us who know him, know that these attacks won’t stand because Puzder is deeply committed to helping American workers succeed.

 

Puzder knows how to create jobs and foster a pro-growth environment because that’s what he has done for the last two decades. His company employs 75,000 people in the United States — enough to nearly fill FedEx field every Sunday and operates more than 3,300 restaurant locations in 42 states and 28 countries. He literally wrote the book on job creation and the role government should play in helping businesses grow and succeed.

Puzder understands that a thriving business leads to better opportunities for its employees. His career at CKE has given him a unique perspective on the outsized importance local, state and federal regulations have when trying to build or grow a business. When regulations are developed without that real-world experience and without input from job creators, they can hurt the businesses and employees they are designed to help.

We have seen well-intentioned policies implemented without regard for the concerns from industry that have wound up hurting hardworking Americans. As business of all sizes struggle to comply with more red tape from the Labor Department, the National Labor Relations Board and OSHA, it has become harder to create opportunities for their employees and help revive our local economies. Puzder gets it, and will run a Department that respects the concerns of both employees and employers.

Many of us who have worked with Puzder have good cause to be optimistic about the policies and approach he will take as Secretary. Puzder has seen firsthand how overregulation has been a significant deterrent to growth in the restaurant industry, where the majority of businesses operate on razor-thin profit margins. In an industry that employs 14.4 million Americans, bureaucratic overreach can have a major impact.

He experienced how a poorly designed overtime rule could end up forcing an employer to demote a manager back into an hourly position, or how a scheduling restriction might mean a restaurant can’t be fully staffed during the holiday rush. Like other restaurant operators, these are the regulatory challenges Puzder had to overcome to run a successful business. That is the kind of real-world experience the Labor Department has been lacking for too long.

There is a great deal of work to be done and a number of issues that deserve attention, including wages, worker benefits, job growth and government regulations. We look forward to working with Puzder and the new Congress to create an environment that fosters job creation, economic growth, and opportunity for all Americans, and that rewards hard work, entrepreneurism, and innovation.

I know Puzder will approach this job with the best interests of American workers as his top priority. That approach should be welcomed by both industry and labor, because we all share the common goal of creating more jobs and opportunities for the American people.

Dawn Sweeney is the president and chief executive officer of the National Restaurant Association.


The views of contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.