Puzder's Withdrawal Pains Franchise Supporters, but Cheers Workers' Group
Andy Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants, withdrew today as secretary of labor nominee
Just one day before his long-awaited confirmation hearing for secretary of labor, Andrew Puzder became the lone cabinet nominee to date to not get the nod, a blow to his many supporters in the franchising community who hoped the CEO of CKE Restaurants would set the department on a pro-business track. But at least one workers' group cheered.
“After careful consideration and discussions with my family, I am withdrawing my nomination for Secretary of Labor,” Puzder said in a statement today. “I am honored to have been considered by President Donald Trump to lead the Department of Labor and put America’s workers and businesses back on a path to sustainable prosperity.”
He thanked President Trump for the nomination and his supporters “who have voiced their praise and hopeful optimism for the policies and new thinking I would have brought to America as Secretary of Labor.”
International Franchise Association President & CEO Robert Cresanti released a statement following Puzder’s decision, which read in part: “His fair and measured approach to managing the Labor Department would’ve reversed the course of the job-killing regulations implemented over the last eight years, which have paralyzed small businesses. Regardless of where he is, Andy will continue his dedicated pursuit towards advancing growth for all workers as the leader of one of America’s great franchises and everything this business model represents.”
CKE Restaurants is the franchisor of Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. restaurants.
Even before the New York Times news alert that Puzder had withdrawn, a group called Good Jobs Defenders that had planned a protest during his hearing scheduled for Thursday was crowing.
The group “is delighted that anti-worker CEO Andy Puzder” has withdrawn his nomination. “Faced with overwhelming pressure from workers’ groups and labor unions, damning ethics violations and revelations about his history of domestic abuse, Puzder was right to see the writing on the wall for his nomination.”
Good Jobs Defenders, described as a new coalition of unions and advocacy organizations, said federal contract workers planned to hold a “massive” strike at Upper Senate Park to protest Puzder’s nomination. “We can’t afford to have a labor secretary that prefers robots to workers and we can’t have a president who promises ‘more jobs, better wages’ and then turns around and breaks that promise,” the statement said. All of the above are allegations that have been swirling around Puzder since his nomination was announced in December.
Puzder is well known for his pro-employer bona fides. In November, Puzder told Franchise Times’ sister publication: “The weight of government coercion has become so heavy, it is no longer possible to ignore. We have a government-mandated restaurant recession. The government did not intend this result. But it shows what happens when government tries to manipulate the economy.”
Puzder’s most compelling statement during his remarks was this: “You cannot mandate the benefits of economic growth”—meaning higher wages and better benefits for workers— “without actual economic growth.”