Dear Working Families e-Activist:
It was a long and hard fight but on Nov. 18, facing a presidential veto threat, Republican members of Congress removed important overtime pay protections from final 2005 spending bills.
You made a big difference with your letters pressuring Congress to pass overtime pay protections. We won votes, but the Bush administration threatened to veto any bill reversing its overtime pay take-away. Facing a government shutdown, members of Congress removed the overtime pay protections from the legislation.
Losing this important vote on overtime pay is a disappointing setback. We all worked hard, we won votes in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate, but in the end President George W. Bush and congressional Republican leaders got their way.
Things look like they may get worse before they get better. The Bush administration and Republicans in Congress weren't content to take overtime pay rights from some 6 million workers. Now, they're reviving the second part of their two-pronged assault on workers' paychecks. This new pay cut would mean that employers would no longer have to pay extra for overtime work. Instead, they would be able to offer time off in lieu of pay—kind of ridiculous, since it lets the boss decide if and when you ever can take any time off.
We'll keep you up to date on what is going on and where the fight will continue—including in state legislatures, the courts and in Congress. A number of states have laws better than the Bush administration's overtime rules. Activists in other states will be pushing for reforms to strengthen and restore overtime pay protections. We'll let you know when your action is needed to help enact these protections.
For now, the most important thing we can do is to give you, your family, friends and colleagues some tools to protect your rights, including Working America's overtime pay survey. Remember: The best ways to protect your right to overtime pay is in a union contract.
How to Know if You’re Entitled to Overtime Pay
If you are unsure whether you could be "exempt" from receiving overtime pay under new Bush administration overtime rules, find out using Working America's overtime pay survey. http://www.workingamerica.org/issues/ot_quiz.cfm
Look for more soon.
Thanks for all you do.
Working Families e-Activist Network
Dec. 7, 2004