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    COMMENTARY: It's Our Turn to Play Offense

    Andy Puzder could redefine retail industry for Americans.

    By Joe Kefauver, Align Public Strategies

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Anyone who thought the election results would turn the temperature down on the anti-industry fervor from the labor community and their activist allies is sadly mistaken. The lead-up to the confirmation hearings for Labor Secretary-designate Andy Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants, has demonstrated that the reputation campaign against the service and retail industries, our business models, and individual companies is alive and well.

    The hearing has already been postponed numerous times and as of today, it is scheduled for Feb. 2. There are a lot of legitimate procedural and scheduling explanations for the postponements, but let’s be honest, the Trump team was woefully unprepared for the level of backlash and needs more time to get their damage-control ducks in a row.

    And while the industry’s detractors will use the hearing as yet another opportunity to denigrate our jobs and the role we play in the community, the industry itself must look at this as a golden opportunity to set the record straight. Let’s not lose sight of that.

    When was the last time a retail or service industry CEO had an unfettered, open mike to the American public? Uh, never!

    If Puzder is as prepared and on message as he usually is, and if our leading associations and companies are on message as well, this could redefine our industry for millions of Americans. It puts us in control of the narrative around what we do as well as any industry — we create jobs and pathways for millions of workers hungry for an opportunity to reach the middle class.

    The labor community has had the stage for long enough, and has used it effectively to disparage our industry. Now it’s our turn to play offense. "The microphone is yours, Mr. Puzder."

    Editor’s note: The opinions expressed in this column are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of Convenience Store News.

    By Joe Kefauver, Align Public Strategies
    • About Joe Kefauver Joe Kefauver is managing partner of Align Public Strategies, a full-service public affairs and creative firm that handles national issues and multi-state strategy for a portfolio of flagship clients including the country’s largest employers, Fortune 100 brands and national associations. For more information, go to AlignPublicStrategies.com.

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