CNN • Andrew Kaczynski

In two speeches in 2011, Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of labor, fast-food executive Andrew Puzder, described the employees hired at his restaurants as the “best of the worst” available in the employment pool.

Puzder, who is the CEO of CKE Restaurants, the company that operates the fast-food chains Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr., is scheduled to appear before a Senate committee on Feb. 2 for his confirmation hearing. Puzder has drawn criticism from Democrats and organized labor for his opposition to several of their key policy priorities, including a $15 federal minimum wage and the Labor department’s overtime rule.

Speaking to a students of Westmont College in February 2011, Puzder discussed the changes he made at CKE when he initially took over as its chief executive.

“Our turnover was about 300% a year. Which means everybody quit. There were some people that stayed that were lifers at Hardee’s,” Puzder can be heard saying in an audio recording of the speech archived on iTunes and reviewed by CNN’s KFile. “But most people were coming and working three months and then going somewhere else. It’s not like if you run a fast food company you’re hiring graduates of MIT or people that were gonna go work for Microsoft, you know.

“In the employment pool, you’re hiring the best of the worst. You know, it’s kind of the bottom of the pool. And at Hardee’s it was so bad, we were hiring the worst of the worst and hoping they would stay.”

Puzder echoed these comments later that year in a speech to California State University, a recording of which is available on UStream.

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