President-elect Donald Trump has named fast-food executive Andrew Puzder as his nominee for U.S. Secretary of Labor. Puzder, who runs CKE Restaurants Holdings, the parent company of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, is an opponent of a higher federal minimum wage (now just $7.25 an hour), paid sick leave and the Affordable Care Act. He opposes an Obama administration rule that would increase the number of workers eligible for overtime pay. And he is passionately anti-union.
Richard Trumka, the president of the AFL-CIO, said Puzder is “a man whose business record is defined by fighting against working people.”
One of Trump’s earliest campaign donors, Puzder served as a co-chair of Trump’s California finance team. According to fundraising records, Puzder and his wife contributed $150,000 in May 2016 to Trump’s campaign and Republican Party partners. He also served as an economic adviser to Trump during the campaign and appeared as a frequent surrogate for the candidate on cable news.
Carl’s Jr. is known for salacious TV commercials starring young women in bikinis munching burgers. “He has objectified and undermined women in an effort to sell hamburgers,” said Vicki Shabo, of the National Partnership for Women and Families. Puzder shrugged off the criticism. “I like beautiful women eating burgers in bikinis. I think it’s very American,” he told Entrepreneur.
Bloomberg, Dec. 8
Associated Press, Dec. 9
The New Yorker, Dec. 12