If Andrew Puzder is confirmed as the Trump administration’s Secretary of Labor, the Department of Labor is likely to execute a sharp U-turn away from the policies and regulatory practices of the last eight years.
Where Obama administration Labor Secretaries Hilda Solis and Thomas Perez attempted to use the DOL’s clout to advocate for workers’ interests, Puzder is seen as someone who will scale back rules that rankle business owners.
Puzder will “save small businesses from the crushing burdens of unnecessary regulations that are stunting job growth and suppressing wages,” President-elect Trump said Dec. 8.
Puzder has served as CEO of CKE Restaurants, the parent company of Hardee’s, Carl’s Jr. and other well-known restaurant brands, since 2000.
He has often spoken out against raising the federal minimum wage. In his blog, Puzder regularly decries the concept of joint-employment.
Puzder opposes the Obama administration’s new rules—currently on hold—that would make 4.2 million more white-collar workers eligible for overtime pay.
In a Wall Street Journal op-ed earlier this year, Puzder blamed the Affordable Care Act for hard times in the restaurant industry. “One doesn’t need to be an economist to see that ObamaCare is reducing consumer spending,” he wrote.
The business community hailed Puzder’s selection. “Small business owners are pleased that someone who knows what it takes to manage a successful company has been nominated to oversee the Department of Labor,” said Juanita Duggan, CEO of the National Federation of Independent Business.
“Andy brings much-needed business experience to the Department of Labor,” said National Restaurant Association CEO Dawn Sweeney.
Labor union representatives disagreed. “Puzder opposes many of the policies and programs he would administer,” said Chris Shelton, president of the Communications Workers of America. “He opposes the Department of Labor’sand actually claimed that what workers ‘lose in overtime pay they gain in stature and sense of accomplishment.’”