touting the economy this month, President Bush
said, "A more productive worker makes more money"
(1). But if he has his way on new overtime regulations,
that will no longer be the case for tens of thousands
a move designed to blur the issue, the Administration
today said it was revising its previous effort
to terminate overtime protections for 8 million
workers (2). But even by the Bush Administration's
own admission, the "new" regulations will mean
that tens of thousands of lower-income workers
will be cut off (3). Opponents of the Administration's
plan say that the revisions would still cause
problems for mean millions. The regulations are
so bad for workers that some state legislatures
have even rushed through legislation to block
new overtime regulations come just four months
after AP reported that the Bush Labor Department
began "giving employers tips on how to avoid paying
overtime to some of the 1.3 million low-income
workers" (5). The Administration specifically
told employers they could "cut workers' hourly
wages and add the overtime to equal the original
salary, or raise salaries to the new $22,100 annual
threshold, making them ineligible." Labor Secretary
Elaine Chao testified before Congress that too
many workers were filing "needless litigation"
in efforts to force employers to pay them back
wages (6). Her insult to workers belied the fact
that judges have ordered the government to "collect
more than $212 million in back pay for workers"
- the most in a decade and a strong signal that
the efforts to fight worker abuse are far from
1. President Announces New Education Initiatives
for Stronger Workforce, 04/06/2004, http://daily.misleader.org/ctt.asp?u=1208987&l=29784.
2. "8 million may lose OT pay", CNN Money, 06/27/2003,
3. "Administration to Revise Overtime Plan", New
York Times, 04/20/2004, http://daily.misleader.org/ctt.asp?u=1208987&l=29786.
4. "Senate votes to preserve overtime pay", Associated
Press, 04/16/2004, http://daily.misleader.org/ctt.asp?u=1208987&l=29787.
5. "U.S. offers tips on avoiding overtime pay",
MSNBC, 01/05/2004, http://daily.misleader.org/ctt.asp?u=1208987&l=29788.
6. "More workers filing overtime-pay lawsuits",
Seattle Times, 04/11/2004, http://daily.misleader.org/ctt.asp?u=1208987&l=29789
Posted: April 21, 2004