The Labor Department has spent years favoring the unions and the new secretary needs to find a better balance moving forward, former McDonald's CEO Ed Rensi told CNBC on Thursday.
Earlier in the day, President Donald Trump named R. Alexander Acosta as his choice to head the agency after his first pick, CKE Restaurants CEO Andy Puzder, withdrew his nomination.
"We need to be the land of promise and hope. And our Labor Department in the past 16 years has been nothing but an obstacle," Rensi said in an interview with "Closing Bell."
He believes that obstacle comes in the form of things like the overtime rule, which would have extended mandatory overtime pay to more than 4 million workers. The rule was blocked by a federal judge in November.
"These things all serve to do one thing — empower unions to manage companies indirectly and it stops hiring," Rensi argued.
Jamie Richardson, vice president at White Castle, also thinks there has been an "ongoing assault" by the Labor Department.
The overtime rule and a $15 minimum wage "really takes the employment community and puts us in a pause mode. So we're looking for the opportunity to provide more opportunity for more people," Richardson told "Closing Bell."
He hopes the new Labor chief recognizes that the workforce is changing and that employers are at their best when they are able to drive employment.
Rensi is hoping for a balance between corporations, workers' rights and labor unions, which he said will give young workers and new immigrants an opportunity to gain skills and get jobs.
"If we don't get this turned around, we're going to be in trouble," he warned.