Trump Taps Restaurant Chain CEO for Labor Secretary

By: Brent Sailhamer, Director of Government Affairs, ABC Keystone

As he finalizes his Cabinet nominees for 2017 and beyond, President-elect Donald Trump has selected a job-creating, wealthy business owner to oversee the U.S. Department of Labor, a morass of regulation that Trump himself has pledged to undo as quickly as possible.

To help him with that daunting task, Trump has nominated Andy Puzder, the chief executive officer of CKE Restaurants, a global company that franchises fast food stops like Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. Puzder has developed a track record as a successful business owner, expanding the culinary enterprise over the years, but perhaps more notably, he has been an outspoken critic of President Obama’s labor proposals, voicing his opposition in several op-eds and columns throughout the past few years. He has been particularly critical of the proposed overtime rule, claiming that it diminishes opportunities for workers, while also vehemently resisting any increase to the federal minimum wage.  Puzder has also garnered respect for his deal-making ability and has pledged to bring his business savvy to the Department if he should be confirmed by the Senate.

Meanwhile, the Department of Labor has been granted an expedited appeal of a recent Texas ruling that temporarily halted the proposed overtime rule, which would drastically increase salary thresholds for mandatory overtime pay. The granted expedition now allows the Department to make their case for a reversal of the decision ahead of the looming administration shift. Even if the appeal is granted, Congressional leaders have
committed to a Congressional Review Act, which would allow Congress to rollback
any regulations put in place in the final sixty days of the Obama administration.