Trump Nominates Fight For $15 Critic For Labor Secretary


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Ted Goodman Contributor
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President-elect Donald Trump is expected to name fast-food CEO and critic of the Fight for $15 movement, Andrew Puzder, as labor secretary, according to the Wall Street Journal Thursday.

Puzder has been president and CEO of CKE Restaurants Holdings, Inc. since 2000. 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.

He is a vocal critic of President Barack Obama’s labor policies, and visited with Trump at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., Nov. 19.

“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,” Trump said in a statement Thursday.

A former trial lawyer from St. Louis, Mo., Puzder has opposed efforts to raise the federal minimum wage, and warns that increased minimum wages will hurt low wage employees more than help. The 66-year-old CEO has also spoken out against Obamacare and the president’s proposed overtime rules.

“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)

Ben Penn of Bloomberg BNA reported Thursday afternoon that sources close to the transition said Trump “settled on” Puzder.

Labor groups and Democrats came out strongly against the reported selection, including New York State Attorney General and minimum wage advocate, Eric Schneiderman.

“President-elect Trump’s reported choice to lead the Labor Department has done everything in his power to undermine the rights of American workers, from driving down wages to opposing overtime pay,” Schneiderman said in a statement.

Free-market groups and right-leaning think tanks hailed the decision.

“Puzder understands that the key to economic growth and rising wages is empowering business to increase productivity, not artificial, government-imposed wage and hour mandates,” Trey Kovacs, labor policy expert at Competitive Enterprise Institute, a libertarian think tank, said in a statement.

In 2010, Puzder co-authored a book entitled, “Job Creation: How It Really Works and Why Government Doesn’t Understand It.” 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.

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.”

“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.

Puzder has been characterized as an advisor to the president-elect in recent months.

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