The head of the nation's largest manufacturing union said Thursday he likes some of President Donald Trump's plans to boost jobs but is "very, very disappointed" in his nominee for Labor secretary, Andy Puzder.
"It's mind-numbing that a guy [who] is going to be secretary of Labor said he'd like to be able to replace his workers with robots because they don't take a break and they don't need a rest," said Leo Gerard, president of 1.2-million-member United Steelworkers.
Puzder, CEO of the restaurant group behind Carl's Jr. and Hardee's, has not yet been confirmed to head the Department of Labor. His confirmation hearings have been postponed multiple times due to delays in his ethics review and setbacks with other nominee hearings.
In May, he told Business Insider that automation could work for the food industry because robots are "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 was also a critic of the Obama administration's efforts to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10.
"He's directly different from what President Trump has been saying, and President Trump has said that he wants not only to bring back industrial manufacturing, but he wants to have higher wages," Gerard told CNBC's "Squawk Alley."
"Hopefully he'll get a chance to direct his secretary of Labor to do things that will ... strengthen the ability of workers through collective bargaining to raise wages and bring about more income equality."
Gerard said that after the election, the union wrote a letter to Trump saying it would give him a chance to fulfill his plans.
"We said, 'If you're serious about repealing NAFTA, we're with you. If you're serious about taking on China, we're with you. If you're serious about rebuilding America's infrastructure, we're with you,'" Gerard said. "So if the president's prepared to take that on, he can consider us an ally on that, and we'll consider him an ally."