Trump’s Appetite for Helping Workers Evaporates, Fast Food CEO Picked for Labor Secretary

Labor Secretary Pick Andy Puzder Hostile to Low-Wage Workers, Opposes Minimum Wage Increases, Overtime Pay, More


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Throughout his campaign, President-elect Donald J. Trump promised that he would do right by workers and take on the powerful special interests that control Washington. But in stark contrast to his campaign trail talking points, today Trump announced as his choice for Labor Secretary a man who has shown contempt for low wage workers at every turn: Andy Puzder, the CEO of CKE Restaurants, which owns Carl’s Jr. and other fast food companies. In response, Allied Progress released the following statement from its executive director Karl Frisch:

“With Andy Puzder’s nomination it is becoming even more apparent that President-elect Trump’s appetite for helping hard working Americans was nothing more than campaign rhetoric and that his hunger for fast food extends to his cabinet, beyond just his diet.”

“The Secretary of Labor should actually care about workers, but Andy Puzder has shown them nothing but contempt. Millions of Americans work full-time hours, if not longer, and have second and third jobs but still don’t make enough to get by. Mr. Puzder’s solution is tax credits rather than government assistance of any kind. Worse still he doesn’t think low-income workers deserve a raise or the overtime pay they may have earned. It takes a special kind of callousness to see someone working 40, 50, 60 hours a week and still not making enough to pay rent or put food on the table, and think, ‘you know, if they only worked harder.’”

“Andy Puzder has been a scourge to his own workers and there is no reason to believe he will be any different to all workers as Labor Secretary. This is just another example of President-elect Trump’s abandonment of his core campaign promise to help the working class by standing up to Wall Street insiders and other powerful special interests.”


  • Puzder Says Many Unskilled Workers Don’t “Produce Enough Economic Value” to Warrant Minimum Wage Increases and That If Giving Such Workers a Living Wage Worked, the Soviet Union Would Be the World’s Dominating Economy. In an op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal, Andy Puzder wrote: “The point is simple: the feds can mandate a higher wage, but some jobs don’t produce enough economic value to bear the increase.” He also wrote, “If government could transform unskilled entry-level positions into middle-income jobs, the Soviet Union would be today’s dominant world economy. Spain and Greece would be thriving.” [Andy Puzder, “Minimum Wage, Maximum Politics,” Wall Street Journal, October 5, 2014]
  • Puzder Thinks Welfare Programs Should Be Changed into Tax Credits:  In an op-ed published in The Hill, Andy Puzder wrote that welfare programs that provide food, housing, and medical benefits should instead be transformed into tax credits. He wrote, “The IRS recently estimated that nearly 28 million Americans received more than $66 billion in [Earned Income Tax Credit] EITC payments in 2013, lifting an estimated 6.5 million people out of poverty, including 3.3 million children. While programs that provide food, housing and medical benefits are certainly important, the EITC is more effective in helping people rise out of poverty. These existing programs should be rolled into an expanded EITC.” [Andy Puzder, “More Work, Less Welfare,” The Hill, June 22, 2015]
  • Puzder Doesn’t Think There’s a Problem with Not Paying Workers Overtime: In an op-ed published by the Wall Street Journal, Andy Puzder wrote “Rewarding time spent rather than time well spent won’t help address this problem. Workers who aspire to climb the management ladder strive for the opportunity to move from hourly-wage, crew-level positions to salaried management positions with performance-based incentives. What they lose in overtime pay they gain in the stature and sense of accomplishment that comes from being a salaried manager. This is hardly oppressive. To the contrary, it can be very lucrative for those willing to invest the time and energy, which explains why so many crew employees aspire to be managers.” [Andy Puzder, “Obama’s Overtime Boomerang,” Wall Street Journal, March 25, 2014]

In the weeks and months ahead, Allied Progress will continue to hold the president-elect’s transition and eventual administration accountable for its cabinet and staffing decisions as well as the policies it pursues.

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To speak with Allied Progress about this release, please contact Lia Weintraub at 860-803-4812 or

Allied Progress uses hard-hitting research and creative campaigns to hold powerful special interests accountable and empower hardworking Americans.


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