Trump Expected to Tap Carl’s Jr. CEO as Labor Secretary, Putting the Brand in the Political Crossfire

Andy Puzder is against raising the minimum wage

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Andy Puzder, CEO of Carl's Jr. and Hardee's parent company CKE Restaurants, is expected to be named Labor Secretary today by President-elect Donald Trump, the Wall Street Journal reports. Puzder, who has been CEO of CKE since 2000, was an economic adviser to Mitt Romney and an adviser and contributor to the Trump campaign. 

The expected appointment shines a light on the brand's association with Pudzer's stance on workers' rights. He has argued against raising the minimum wage higher than $9 an hour, according to the Journal.

For the past few years, the fast food industry has been under fire from the #Fightfor15 movement, which advocates for a $15 nationwide minimum wage. Critics also point out that Puzder has been a proponent of automation in the fast food industry over higher wages, as he planned to introduce more automated ordering kiosks at his restaurants, according to Fortune

Puzder has been a proponent for undocumented immigrants, saying in 2005, "Our values indicate [the Republican party] should be the party of immigration reform. [Many undocumented immigrants] live in fear of being deported, losing what they've built and being separated from their families." He has also been an advocate of cutting back regulations in the industry, which he says have hampered growth. CKE is not a publicly traded company and therefore does not report its annual sales.

Puzder's potential new role in the Trump administration also brings up Carl's Jr.'s history of sexism in its marketing, with women eating burgers in bikinis being somewhat of a trademark for its ads. Sexism was a theme throughout the campaign season, as Trump has been accused of sexual assault by numerous women and was even caught on tape bragging about sexually assaulting women to Access Hollywood's Billy Bush. 

On Twitter, some criticized the pick as a sexist one:

While others pointed out that it's consistent with Trump's views on the minumum wage:

Some showed support of the pick from a business perspective:

Meanwhile, others compared the appointment to a scene featuring Carl's Jr. in the movie Idiocracy: 

@ChristineBirkne Christine Birkner is a Chicago-based freelance writer who covers marketing and advertising.
Publish date: December 8, 2016 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT