Dohiyi Mir
    In Which NTodd Says His Peace

Thursday, July 10, 2003
Go to the new DM blog.

Tom Delay's House Hates Workers

The AP reports:

The House voted Thursday to let the Bush administration move ahead with proposed rules that could stop at least 644,000 white-collar workers from receiving overtime pay, heeding a White House veto threat and taking the side of business in its battle against unions.

LAWMAKERS VOTED 213-210 to reject a Democratic provision that would have derailed the regulations. Unless Congress prevents it, the proposed rules could take effect later this year.
The proposed rules would require overtime - pay equal to one-and-a-half times the hourly rate - for as many as 1.3 million additional low-income workers when they work more than 40 hours per week, the department said. Democrats did not oppose that expansion of the number of workers who would get the extra money.

Democrats and unions say at least 8 million white-collar workers now required to get overtime would lose it due to new definitions of jobs that would be exempt from the extra pay. The Labor Department says the figure is at least 644,000.

Unclear how exactly many workers will lose overtime, but it's likely more than the DOL's numbers. Given business reliance on overtime to eliminate jobs and/or reduce hiring, this doesn't look good. I can't get to the House website right now for some reason, so can't examine all the particulars--more to come later. My first reaction to Sec'y Chao's statement is that it's quite the usual BushCo Orwellian view of things...


[Update, 7/11: H.AMDT.220, the Obey amendment to H.R.2660, the appropriations bill for DOL and other depts, basically said no monies could be appropriated to implement new labor regs that would change workers' overtime rights/status. Workers considered non-exempt under FLSA as of July 11 would remain non-exempt. Defeat of this amendment will negatively impact mid-level office workers, entry-level supervisors, technical workers, administrative personnel and a variety of other employees, including those making more than $65,000/year. WRT impact, the 8 million figure seems a bit high, but 644,000 sounds way too low a floor estimate. I'm certainly happy that the lower income workers can get OT, but this is clearly yet another business-friendly move at the expense of employees: paying time-and-a-half to a $10/hr worker is a lot cheaper than paying OT to a person making $65K. So businesses will get more work out of people, further reducing the need to hire/retain employees, while hundreds of thousands or millions of workers will get the shaft as FLSA exemptions are expanded.] 

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