Andy Puzder, CEO of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s parent company, is divesting his holdings in the quick-service concern and arranging an exit from its management in anticipation of becoming the next U.S. secretary of labor.
Puzder told the Associated Press through a spokesman that he is “all in” for the new job, dashing speculation that he may rebuff President Trump’s invitation because of a potentially bruising confirmation process. Puzder has been a target of organized labor since his nomination was announced shortly after Trump’s election.
Groups like the Service Employees International Union, the restaurant industry’s largest union, have blasted his remarks that robots are better than human employees in some respects, and that a $15 wage would be too extreme. They’ve also trumpeted the number of job discrimination and harassment complaints that have been hired against Carl’s and Hardee’s, the two main chains of CKE Restaurants.
Many employers, meanwhile, have voiced delight at having a businessman and large-scale employer in the role of labor secretary. They note that pro-labor forces had a sympathetic ear in Tom Perez, the secretary of labor in the Obama administration, and in President Obama himself. Puzder has written op-ed pieces and spoken at industry events in opposition to controversial pro-labor measures such as the National Labor Relation Board’s redefinition of franchisor-franchisee relations and the adoption of so-called “living wages” of $15 an hour.
Puzder has not only re-affirmed his interest in becoming labor secretary, but is working to distance himself financially from CKE to avoid any appearance of ethical conflicts, the AP reported. Puzder’s stake in the company was not revealed.
A CKE spokesman said Puzder would tender his resignation as CEO as soon as he is confirmed. A successor has not yet been named.
The AP story was posted on Puzder’s blog, suggesting he agrees with its assertions.