Overtime Pay for Hardworking Americans at Risk; Will Trump Protect Them or Side With Scrooge?

Nov. 23, 2016

Overtime Pay for Hardworking Americans at Risk; Will Trump Protect Them or Side With Scrooge?

Statement of Robert Weissman, President, Public Citizen

Note: On Tuesday night, a federal judge in Texas issued a nationwide injunction against a U.S. Department of Labor rule expanding the number of workers who would be eligible for overtime pay. The regulation was scheduled to take effect on Dec. 1 and would raise the salary limit below which workers automatically qualify for overtime pay from less than $24,000 to more than $47,000.

Scrooge has arrived early this year. Millions of hardworking Americans were just days away from becoming eligible to be paid time-and-a-half for any overtime hours they worked. But now a federal judge in Texas has blocked the rule as a result of a lawsuit brought by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and a host of other industry groups.

The Chamber and big business are celebrating this decision. It means more money in their already overflowing pockets and less for their employees – and will only exacerbate the already deep income inequality that exists in the United States. The overtime rule is a powerful tool to fight income inequality by ensuring that working people get paid for all hours they work. It puts strong upward pressure on wages for low and middle income workers.

The Department of Labor should appeal this misguided decision immediately.

This is a test for President-Elect Trump. He has railed against regulation in general. But the overtime rule is a specific regulation that will improve living standards for millions of the Americans that candidate Trump promised he would help. If the president-elect is to remain true to the core promise of his campaign, he must commit to defending and ultimately ensuring implementation of the overtime rule.

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