Mother Jones - It's t's not surprising that [Andy] Puzder, who has been CEO of CKE Restaurants since 2000, would have strong opinions about overtime. Back in 2004, the company agreed to pay $9 million to settle claims that it had not paid overtime to store managers. In 2013, CKE was hit with a class-action suit for "allegedly failing to pay its general managers overtime, even while requiring them to be on call 24 hours a day," reports Law 360. The suit is still pending, with a hearing scheduled for Dec. 14 in Los Angeles.
In response to widespread efforts to boost the minimum wage at the state and local levels, Puzder vowed earlier this year to replace workers with machines. "They're always polite, they always upsell, they never take a vacation, they never show up late, there's never a slip-and-fall, or an age, sex, or race discrimination case," he gushed to Business Insider.
A frequent writer of opinion pieces, Puzder argued in an October 2014 Wall Street Journal article that rather than raise the minimum wage, policy makers should look to North Dakota and its booming shale oil fields as a model for generating high wages. Not long after Puzder penned those words, the North Dakota oil boom went bust; jobs evaporated and wages plunged.
As labor secretary, Puzder will certainly not be able to ignore the industry he will leave behind. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the restaurant industry employs 10.6 million people—accounting for for 9.9 percent of all private-sector employment among women, and 8.4 percent among men. The pay, to use a technical term, sucks:
The median hourly wage in the restaurant industry, including tips, is $10.00, compared with $18.00 outside of the restaurant industry. After accounting for demographic differences between restaurant workers and other workers, restaurant workers have hourly wages that are 17.2 percent lower than those of similar workers outside the restaurant industry. This is the “wage penalty” of restaurant work. ... One in six restaurant workers, or 16.7 percent, live below the official poverty line. The poverty rate for workers outside the restaurant industry is more than 10 percentage points lower, at 6.3 percent.