Labor Secretary Contender Puzder Meets Again With Trump

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By Ben Penn

Dec. 7 — Fast-food executive Andrew Puzder, a leading contender to be the next labor secretary, met again with President-elect Donald Trump, a transition team spokesman said.

“He’s been an excellent advocate for the president-elect and his economic message,” Jason Miller, the Trump transition communications director, said in a daily call for reporters Dec. 7. “He has a really good handle on what the president is trying to do to improve our economy.”

Puzder, the chief executive officer of CKE Restaurants Inc.—parent company of the Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. brands—initially met with Trump Nov. 19 after advising his campaign on economics. Puzder has been critical of Obama administration labor regulations, including the rule to expand workers’ access to overtime pay and the National Labor Relations Board’s broadened joint employer standard.

“He’s a very talented man with a very impressive background and someone we think highly of,” Miller said.

Other Candidates?

Other names circulating as possibilities to run the Labor Department include former NLRB member Peter Kirsanow (R) and Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Pa.). Both have also met with Trump in recent weeks.

It’s unclear whether Puzder’s second meeting with Trump involved discussion of his appointment as labor secretary or other administration posts. A source confirmed that the meeting occurred in New York Dec. 7 but provided no details.

Before taking the helm at CKE in 2000, Puzder was a trial attorney in St. Louis from 1978 to 1991, according to a biography on his company website. He received a law degree from Washington University Law School.

If nominated for a Cabinet position, Puzder would need to clear ethics hurdles related to potential conflicts of interest. He’d be seizing control of an agency that can investigate his company-owned and franchised stores for violations of wage-and-hour, occupational safety and other laws.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ben Penn in Washington at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Peggy Aulino at; Terence Hyland at

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