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Trump said to pick fast-food CEO to head Labor Dept.

(Bloomberg) -- President-elect Trump intends to nominate as labor secretary Andrew Puzder, chief executive of the company that owns the Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. burger chains and who opposes raising the minimum wage, according to people familiar with the plans.

Puzder, who served as an economic adviser to Trump during the campaign and is a major Republican donor, has been an outspoken critic of the Obama administration’s labor policies and of the president’s signature legislative achievement, the Affordable Care Act.

As labor secretary, he'll also oversee a department that has upended the wealth management industry through its fiduciary regulation, due to go in effect in April.

Critics of the rule are hopeful Trump will overturn it.

The Trump transition team is expected to announce Puzder's nomination, which is subject to Senate confirmation, as soon as Thursday. Puzder, 66, is CEO of CKE Restaurants, parent company of the fast-food brands. He’s a graduate of Washington University Law School and was a trial attorney in St. Louis before joining CKE in 2000.

Andrew Puzder fast food CEO DOL nominee Bloomberg News
Andrew Puzder, chief executive officer of CKE Restaurants Inc., speaks during an editorial board meeting in New York, U.S., on Tuesday, March 10, 2009. CKE operates and franchises Carl's Jr., and Hardee's restaurants in the United States and abroad. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg News

Puzder was an economic adviser to 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and has been a contributor to Republican Party organizations and candidates. He and his wife, Deanna, each gave $75,000 to the Trump Victory joint fundraising committee, according to a Bloomberg Government analysis of Federal Election Commission data.

The selection of Puzder sheds light on what direction the Labor Department might take under Trump. Puzder has a long record of spoken and written remarks on job creation. As well as opposing efforts to raise the minimum wage, he’s against an Obama administration rule that would expand the number of workers eligible for overtime pay. The rule, which would affect about 4.2 million workers, was temporarily blocked by a federal judge in November.

Tapping Puzder “might be the surest sign yet that the next Cabinet will be looking out for the billionaires and special interests, instead of America’s working class,” said New York’s Chuck Schumer, who will be the Democratic leader in the Senate. Puzder is “exactly the opposite” of a labor secretary who will fight for American workers, Schumer said.

Puzder has said Obama’s health-care overhaul hurt his company’s growth and forced it to rely more on part-time workers. Some Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. locations also are shifting to touch-screen kiosks. Those stores need fewer employees behind the counter, Puzder said, a move made desirable by what he called ill-advised government policies and taxes.

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