President-elect Donald Trump has nominated Andy Puzder, Chief Executive of CKE Restaurants, to serve as the Secretary of U.S. Department of Labor. CKE Restaurants is the parent of Hardees’, Carl’s Jr., Green Burrito and Red Burrito restaurant brands, a franchise system with 3,750 franchised or company-operated restaurants in 44 states and 40 foreign countries.
Puzder was an early and vocal supporter of Trump and a strong critic of President Obama’s labor policies. In a statement, Mr. Trump said Puzder “will fight to make American workers safer and more prosperous,” and also “save small businesses from the crushing burdens of unnecessary regulations that are stunting job growth and suppressing wages.”
If confirmed by the Senate, Mr. Puzder is expected to play a key role in rolling back Obama administration policies such as the new overtime rule, joint employer interpretation, and the Affordable Care Act. Like President –Elect Trump, Puzder also has an independent streak and has indicated past support for a modest increase in the federal minimum wage. In a March 30 2016 interview the Los Angeles Times, Puzder said, “(At CKE) people don’t make minimum wage for a very long period of time. If you’re going to stay and show you have value, then your wage is going to go up… I don’t think anybody plans to have a workforce of minimum-wage employees. That’s not the way it works. There’s nothing wrong with rational increases in the minimum wage that don’t kill jobs.”
Overall, the nomination of Andy Puzder is a positive sign for the business community, particularly the service industry businesses that comprise NATSO’s membership. Puzder understands first hand our business model and we are optimistic our concerns will be heard and addressed in a way that encourages economic growth.
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