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President Perrone in The Hill: Overtime Pay is Long Overdue

OT Rules are UnfairYesterday The Hill published UFCW International President Marc Perrone’s op-ed on the importance of expanding overtime pay to increase the threshold of salaried employees working more than 40 hours a week and not making time-and-a-half pay. You can read the op-ed below:

Every day, millions of hard-working Americans wake up to the realization that they will work more than 40 hours per week, but will not compensated for their hard work. Even though employers have to provide overtime pay to employees who work more than 40 hours per week under the Fair Labor Standards Act, many salaried workers are exempt. While it may be hard to believe that this is still possible, it may have to do with the simple fact that salary threshold for overtime pay has been raised only once since 1975.

How low is the threshold for these workers? The exact threshold is $23,660, which is lower – if you can believe – than the federal poverty level for a family of four. Even worse, because the overtime regulation has not been updated and adjusted for inflation, it has allowed employers to classify workers with salaries as low as $24,000. These are workers that have very low level supervisory authority, even though many will essentially perform the same work as their hourly coworkers. As a result, employers have used this overtime exemption to their advantage by requiring these low level supervisors to work for free after 40 hours. 

Under the new regulation, some workers will no longer be required to work long hours for no pay, and that means they can spend more time at home with their families or they can get paid for the work they do.  Others will get a pay increase in the form of time-and-a-half pay for overtime work. As to be expected, some workers will get a salary bump to exceed the new threshold. And in what could help spur the creation of countless of jobs, hard-working Americans who are struggling in low-wage, part-time jobs may see those jobs converted to full-time work, while some unemployed workers will get a new job when employers increase hiring to “spread the work.” 

While executive actions will not solve the fundamental economic challenges facing millions of families across this country, this new regulation is one of the most significant steps the Obama Administration can take on its own. It will also help cement a basic American value enshrined within the Fair Labor Standards Act that men and women who do the hard work would receive a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.

While it is clear there are many areas our elected leaders must address to truly improve the lives of every hard-working American—such as paid leave, the minimum wage and fair scheduling—one would hope our elected leaders, especially Republican Members of Congress and leadership, would remember that no American in this day and age should ever be exploited simply because they want a job.

Those who oppose this rule change will have difficulty explaining why to their salaried workers in their districts and states, and that’s something to look for as we approach the 2016 election.

Let’s Fix Overtime!

At the UFCW, we believe that if you do the work, you deserve to be compensated.

Unfortunately, not everyone has a voice on the job, and every day, millions of Americans work more than 40 hours per week with no pay. That’s because the salary threshold for overtime pay has been raised only once since 1975.

The current salary threshold is $23,660, which is lower than the federal poverty level for a family of four. This outdated system has given corporations a free pass to schedule low-level supervisors and managers for more than 40 hours per week without providing them with any overtime pay.

But that’s about to change because the U.S. Department of Labor is raising the bar on employers by setting a higher salary threshold for overtime protection so that more salaried workers will be eligible to earn overtime when they work more than 40 hours in one week.  The proposed regulation will increase the overtime salary threshold to $50,440 per year by 2016, and extend overtime protection to almost 5 million additional workers, including those in the food and non-food retail sector.

The new overtime regulation will benefit workers everywhere and make it harder for employers to misclassify workers as supervisors.  It is the most significant step the Obama Administration can take on its own to address our country’s low-wage, part-time economy, and will improve the standard of living for millions of Americans.

UFCW worker graphicAll workers deserve to be compensated for their hard work—so please take a few minutes to show your support by visiting: www.ufcwaction.org/overtime.

UFCW Joins Members of Congress and Immigrants’ Rights Groups to Demand Justice for Immigrant Workers

“Granting temporary relief to hard working aspiring Americans is not enough. It is time to fix our broken immigration system.”

IMG_0675NEW ORLEANS, La. – In the midst of an ongoing legal battle that has suspended President Obama’s executive actions on immigration, members of Congress, labor leaders, and immigrant families gathered in New Orleans to demand implementation of the president’s immigration orders. At an event today outside the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, UFCW Executive Vice President Esther López released the following statement.

“President Obama’s executive actions on immigration are about taking a step forward, however modest, in the fight to fix our broken immigration system. It is about millions of workers applying for legal rights and earning long overdue peace of mind. Unfortunately, DAPA remains in limbo. And for that we say to the politicians who have held it up—shame on you. Shame on you for letting ideology and indifference get in the way of good public policy.

“The president’s executive actions are not a substitute for comprehensive reform, but they are legal, necessary, and overdue. The lawsuits against these actions are obvious political stunts – a cruel effort to scare immigrant workers away from applying for DAPA. 

“The American people want and deserve for more to be done, yet Congressional leaders have refused to hear their calls for change. The UFCW, the labor movement, and our allies are not backing down and will continue working to achieve real reform. Together we will fight for DACA, we will fight for DAPA, and we will fight for comprehensive immigration reform. Most of all, we will fight for the better America each and every one of us deserves.”

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