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Andy Puzder Withdraws Nomination as Secretary of Labor

Andrew Puzder
Andy Puzder. ( Photo by Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 3.0)

Andy Puzder withdrew as a nominee today for Secretary of Department of Labor in President Trump's administration.

"I am withdrawing my nomination for Secretary of Labor," tweeted Puzder today shortly after 1 p.m. EST.

Originally a commercial trial lawyer, Puzder is the chief executive officer of CKE Restaurants Inc., the holding company of burger franchisors Carl's Jr. and Hardee's.

The International Franchise Association, who came out in strong support of Puzder, was disappointed. "Andy Puzder always saw the bigger picture, so his decision to withdraw is just another example of his character as someone willing to put himself aside on behalf of the greater good," said CEO and president of the IFA, Robert Cresanti. "From his humble beginnings, Andy worked to make a difference and that's precisely why he would've been a great addition to President Trump's Administration."

The Hill, a news site that covers politics and policy on Capitol Hill, reported that Puzder was under intense pressure "for admitting he hired an illegal immigrant as a housekeeper and past allegations that he abused his ex-wife and treated employees poorly." It elaborated that the Oprah Winfrey Network had provided a copy of a 1990 episode of the Oprah show that had been circulated among Congress members. The Hill reported, "Puzder's ex-wife, Lisa Fierstein, reportedly appeared in disguise to speak out as a domestic violence victim. She discussed allegations of physical abuse against her former husband on the show. Fierstein has since retracted her allegations, including in a recent letter to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Politico reported."

The IFA's Cresanti stated that he thinks Puzder's approach to managing the Labor Department would have reversed job-killing regulations implemented by the Obama administration. "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," said Cresanti.

Bob Purvin, chairman of the American Association of Franchisees and Dealers had a different take from the IFA about the withdrawal of Puzder as the Secretary of Labor nominee. His views were mixed. "There are many issues, particularly in relation to pay and labor, in which Puzder has been a friend of franchisee owners. But on other issues Puzder has not been a friend," stated the leader of the 25-year-old national franchisee organization. Puzder has argued against laws that increased minimum wage and changed overtime regulation, with many franchise owners agreeing with him. However, Purvin points out that nominee Andy Puzder would likely come down strongly against an ongoing joint-employer ruling that would allow franchisors to have control of franchise owners' businesses while ensuring little to no franchisor liability on what a franchisor instructs franchise owners to do with their businesses. "It is here that franchisees felt trepidation," Purvin concluded.

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Don Sniegowski is editor of Blue MauMau, the daily news journal for franchise & small business owners. Call him at +1 (270) 321-1268, tweet @bluemaumau or email don@bluemaumau.org.