Friday, December 02, 2016

Court Ruling and Trump's Election Puts Overtime Pay Rules in Limbo

Obama effort for workers at risk

If one listens to the right's propaganda that white working class voters supported Donald Trump due to economic concerns rather than their allegiance to Trump's calls to racism, white supremacy, anti-immigrant bigotry, and general misogyny, then one would think that these voters would have applauded and supported the Obama administration's plan to change the Department of Labor's overtime rules.  These changes would have forced employers with "salaried" workers to pay overtime to staff making less than a designated annual salary.   Prior to the rule changes, many employers - it is a practice widely seen in the legal services realm for paralegals and real estate processors  - designated employees as salaried staff exempt from hourly wage overtime rules and then demanded that they work 60+ hours a week.  Between a conservative court ruling and Trump's election, the new rules are on hold and likely face repeal if Trump holds true to his pledge to undo Obama's legacy. Meanwhile, many working class and low level professional workers will find themselves making less money for longer hours once again. It's yet another example of Trump voters cutting their own economic throats. Here are highlights from a piece in the Washington Post looks at this potentially additional self-inflicted harm:
As an education specialist for a museum in Kansas City, Mo., Cherie Kelly says it can be tough to keep her work schedule to 40 hours a week.
On weeks with evening events or special programming, she might have to put in closer to 60 hours — something she says happens about once a month. She was looking forward to earning some extra money through overtime pay soon, thanks to a federal rule that was slated to kick in this week.
But she and many other workers are now in limbo after a federal judge in Texas ruled last week to halt an overtime rulethat was supposed to take effect Dec. 1.
The Labor Department rule, which would have made overtime pay available to more than 4 million additional workers, was challenged in court by a number of business groups and a collection of states. The judge ruled that the department exceeded its authority when it more than doubled the salary limit that determines which workers should be made eligible for overtime pay.
The rule would have made overtime pay an option for full-time salaried employees earning up to $47,476 a year — substantially more than the current threshold of $23,660 a year. The rule hadn’t been updated in 12 years.
But business groups, states and other employers expressed concerns that the higher income threshold would hurt their bottom lines, disrupt their business models, or limit opportunities for employees.
The Labor Department said it strongly disagreed with the court’s decision and is currently reviewing its legal options.
The timeline for when the court will reach a final decision depends on what the department does next, legal experts say. If the Labor Department challenges the injunction as expected, some consumer groups said they are worried that the rule advocated by President Obama may not survive under the next administration. One scenario is that the Labor Department under President-elect Donald Trump could decide to drop the case, putting an end to the rule, says Ross Eisenbrey, vice president for the Economic Policy Institute, a left-leaning think tank.
As a result, Eisenbrey said, the institute is researching options for becoming a party in the lawsuit so that it could continue the case even if the Labor Department drops out.
Many employers said after the ruling that they would move ahead with changes even though the future of the rule is murky. TJX, the parent company for T.J. Maxx and Marshalls, said this week that it would “move forward as planned” in implementing the changes required by the rule, without elaborating on what those changes would be. Walmart in September raised the salaries of its entry-level managers to $48,500 from $45,000 to bring them above the threshold for overtime pay and said this week it has no plans to change course.

 If the Trump/GOP plan plays out, these working class Trump voters could see a loss of their health care coverage, a gutting of Medicare, and reduced pay.  They say they wanted change, and they will certainly get it if all of this comes to pass.  As noted before, I have ZERO sympathy for these morons who rallied to a message of hate and bigotry and were too lazy and/or stupid to educate themselves about what Trump and the GOP actually had planned. They deserve every misfortune imaginable.  I feel sorrow only for their children who will likely suffer significantly.

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