In a recent development, President-elect Donald Trump has chosen fast-food executive, Andrew Puzder to lead the U.S. Department of Labor. Mr. Puzder has opposed higher minimum wages as he thinks that it would kill jobs.
Mr. Puzder is the chief executive of CKE Restaurants, which operates Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. The primary function of the Labor Department is to regulate wages and workplace safety.
Mr. Puzder has been critical of a new rule by Labor Department which aims at extending overtime pay to more than four million U.S workers. He has also dismissed a nationwide campaign by fast-food workers for a $15 minimum wage (more than double the current federal level).
Here’s the Trump statement announcing the nomination:-
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.
The statement released by the Trump transition team further added that Mr. Puzder would make workers more prosperous and safer, and save small businesses from crushing burdens of unnecessary regulations.
While responding to his nomination, he said:-
I am honored to be nominated by President-elect Trump for Secretary of Labor. I look forward to the opportunity to help President-elect Trump restore America’s global economic leadership.
He also stated that more jobs and better wages for American workers could result from right government policies.
He contributed more than $330,000 to Trump’s White House bid and was one of the earliest campaign financiers for the President-elect. He has been an outspoken defender of Trump, he often appeared on cable news and Twitter to talk about the benefits of having a businessman in the White House. He was an adviser and spokesman for Mitt Romney in 2012 before entering the Trump Orbit.
Mr. Puzder has also opposed Obamacare, reasoning that it has left working families with less money to spend dining out, resulting in “restaurant recession.”
Democrats and their allies have criticized the Californian’s appointment. President of the AFL-CIO union, Richard Trumka said that “His [Mr. Puzder’s] business record is defined by fighting against working people.”
If the nomination is confirmed, Mr. Puzder can bring significant changes to the Labor Department. The fate of the overtime rule (finalized in May) will certainly be in question. He has previously argued that the law would add to the regulatory maze imposed by Obama Administration on workers which would result in reduced opportunities for workers.
Mr. Puzder argues that any policy by the government to increase labor cost, like raising minimum wages, would hurt small businesses and increase automation which would cut jobs. He explained that fast-food companies (including his own) are investing in machines that would complete simple tasks, like taking customers’ orders. He later made an addition that he would never remove all front-line employees.
The appointment comes at a time when Trump had a Twitter spat with the head of a Labor Union (United Steelworkers Union) in Indiana.