CKE Restaurants Holdings Inc. CEO Andy Puzder will leave the fast-food chain. Jason Marker will take over the position. Marker was the head of Kentucky Fried Chicken in the U.S.
In a statement, Trump said, “Andy will fight to make American workers safer and more prosperous by enforcing fair occupational safety standards and ensuring workers receive the benefits they deserve, and he will save small businesses from the crushing burdens of unnecessary regulations that are stunting job growth and suppressing wages,” the president-elect said. Puzder opposed Labor’s new overtime regulation since its inception.
In an opinion piece Puzder wrote for Forbes the day Labor published the Overtime Final Rule, he explained his opposition.
“The real world is far different than the Labor Department’s Excel spreadsheet. This new rule will simply add to the extensive regulatory maze the Obama Administration has imposed on employers, forcing many to offset increased labor expense by cutting costs elsewhere. In practice, this means reduced opportunities, bonuses, benefits, perks and promotions.”
Later in the article, he cites regulation and diminished growth opportunities as concerns. Many in the business community shared Puzder’s complaints – primarily regulatory issues and increased costs. On the other hand, proponents contended the FLSA changes would produce opportunities for millions. Since the rule is in limbo following an injunction, no one truly knows the rule’s outcome and impact. Critics note Puzder’s ardent opposition to minimum wage increases.
Protesters against low pay advocated for higher wages for some time. $15 per hour has become a goal; advocates for the pay hike say it is necessary to achieve a living wage. Corporations long resisted the call to raise minimum wages. Andy Puzder ranks among this group.
“If you give [workers] a raise to $15, you lose about $6,000 per employee. So you actually go from a situation where you’ve got a business that can survive and that has economic strength to a business that you really can’t run; you really can’t hire people and you can’t offset these costs of this magnitude with pricing, even if there was meaningful inflation, which we don’t have.”
However, Andy Puzder wants to go a step further. In an interview with Business Insider, he espoused replacing restaurant workers with machines. Statements like these make some people concerned about the Department of Labor’s actions going forward, if approved to head the agency.
Andy Puzder Befriended the President
Andy Puzder championed then candidate Donald Trump for election to the White House. The businessman and his wife donated $150,000 in late Spring 2016 to Trump’s campaign. Also, some of this money went to Republican Party affiliates. In addition, he organized and promoted fundraisers.
Trump and Andy Puzder both agreed with the goal to ease business regulations early on. At a conference in Las Vegas, he said that political and social policies and increased health care and labor costs make the status quo business-unfriendly.