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May, 2004

Bush Stiffs Workers On Overtime
By The Daily Mislead

While 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 of workers.

In 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 them (4).

The 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 "needless."

Sources:

1. President Announces New Education Initiatives for Stronger Workforce, 04/06/2004, http://daily.misleader.org/ctt.asp?u=1322174&l=29772. 2. "8 million may lose OT pay", CNN Money, 06/27/2003, http://daily.misleader.org/ctt.asp?u=1322174&l=29773. 3. "Administration to Revise Overtime Plan", New York Times, 04/20/2004, http://daily.misleader.org/ctt.asp?u=1322174&l=29781. 4. "Senate votes to preserve overtime pay", Associated Press, 04/16/2004, http://daily.misleader.org/ctt.asp?u=1322174&l=29775. 5. "U.S. offers tips on avoiding overtime pay", MSNBC, 01/05/2004, http://daily.misleader.org/ctt.asp?u=1322174&l=29776. 6. "More workers filing overtime-pay lawsuits", Seattle Times, 04/11/2004, http://daily.misleader.org/ctt.asp?u=1322174&l=29777.

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