President-elect Donald Trump is considering fast-food CEO and noted critic of the Fight for $15 movement, Andrew Puzder, to head the Department of Labor (DOL).
Puzder, a 66-year-old father of six, has served as the president and CEO of CKE Restaurants Holdings, Inc. since 2000. The former trial lawyer from St. Louis, Mo. has been a strong critic of President Barack Obama’s labor policies.
A transition official told The New York Times that Puzder’s candidacy for the cabinet post has “gained steam,” but spoke under a condition of anonymity. Trump met with Puzder at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., Nov. 19.
CKE Restaurants, which owns names like Carl’s Jr., Hardee’s, Green Burrito and Red Burrito, operates 3,729 restaurants in 44 states and 40 countries around the world.
Puzder has been a vocal critic of the Fight for $15, asserting that a $15 federal minimum wage would result in automation replacing human labor.
“With government driving up the cost of labor, it’s driving down the number of jobs,” Puzder told Business Insider in March. (RELATED: Fight For $15? McDonald’s To Place Automated Ordering Stations At All US Locations)
The outspoken Obama critic wrote multiple editorials in the Wall Street Journal against a mandated minimum wage increase, saying in 2014 that “some jobs don’t produce enough economic value to bear the increase.”
Warning the Fight for Fifteen will hurt low wage workers more than help, Puzder argued that a better policy would be encouraging the private sector to create more middle class jobs.
“They will cut jobs and rely more on technology,” Puzder wrote in WSJ about replacing low wage employees if the federal minimum wage were drastically risen.
Puzder has also criticized Obama’s use of executive power to change federal overtime rules. Obama’s proposed rules, currently blocked by a federal judge, would make 4.2 million additional workers eligible for overtime pay. (RELATED: Judge Blocks Obama’s Overtime Rule)
Puzder wrote in 2014 that the proposed overtime rule would “hurt the very managers climbing the ranks whom it claims to help.” He has also voiced his frustration with Obamacare, arguing it would result in lower employment rates.
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