Trump taps fast-food CEO as Labor secretary
President-elect Donald Trump is tapping Andy Puzder, the CEO of a major fast-food chain, to serve as Labor secretary.
“Andy Puzder has created and boosted the careers of thousands of Americans, and his extensive record fighting for workers makes him the ideal candidate to lead the Department of Labor,” said Trump in a statement Thursday.
“Andy will fight to make American workers safer and more prosperous by enforcing fair occupational safety standards and ensuring workers receive the benefits they deserve, and he will save small businesses from the crushing burdens of unnecessary regulations that are stunting job growth and suppressing wages.”
The news was first reported early Thursday by Bloomberg BNA.
Puzder is the CEO of CKE Restaurants, the parent company of burger chains Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s. His nomination comes after he met with Trump for a second time on Wednesday.
Puzder said he was honored to be chosen by Trump.
“I look forward to the opportunity to help President-elect Trump restore America’s global economic leadership,” he said in a statement. “The President-elect believes, as do I, that the right government policies can result in more jobs and better wages for the American worker. I’m proud to be offered the chance to serve in his Administration.”
Puzder served as an economic adviser to Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign and has been a vocal opponent of President Obama’s controversial rule expanding overtime pay.
Obama’s rule, which would require overtime pay for most salaried workers who make less than $47,476 annually, is temporarily on hold due to a Texas court’s order.
In an op-ed published in May, Puzder argued that the rule adds to the “extensive regulatory maze the Obama Administration has imposed on employers.”
International Franchise Association’s President and CEO Robert Cresanti applauded Trump’s expected nomination, calling Puzder “an exceptional choice” to helm the Labor Department.
“Voters elected a job creator as President, it is only fitting that the Labor Department, the agency responsible for ensuring the nation’s labor policy is properly balanced, should be led by someone with a proven track record for creating jobs, growing a business and opening a pathway for people to create a successful career and even business ownership,” Cresanti said in a statement.
But labor advocates criticized the move.
Debra Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women & Families, on Thursday called Trump’s choice “appalling” and a betrayal.
“Andrew Puzder is an appalling choice to serve as U.S. Secretary of Labor — a stunning and unwelcome departure from the dedicated and powerful champions who have held that post in recent years, and who have helped advance policies like fair pay, paid sick days and paid family and medical leave that are critical to the well-being of workers and families, businesses and our economy,” Ness said in a statement.
“The expected Puzder nomination betrays America’s workers, especially women and people of color whose rights he has worked to erode.”
Lydia Wheeler contributed to this report, which was updated at 5:22 p.m.
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