Friday, September 01, 2006

Happy Labor Day

I'll be in Fort Bend County on Sunday and in Clear Lake on Monday, but the Friday afternoon news dump has me apoplectic:

President Bush this afternoon made another backdoor appointment to his administration. He used a recess appointment to install a lawyer who represented Wal-Mart with a long record of urging restrictions to the Fair Labor Standard Act’s (FLSA’s) overtime pay and other provisions to head up the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division.

Paul DeCamp, who was grilled at an August Senate confirmation hearing, backed the Bush administration’s move to gut the FLSA’s overtime pay protections saying it presented:

... a window of opportunity, particularly in light of the federal elections of 2002, for the business community to achieve positive results that can bring the FLSA into the 21st century.

He even warned that if the overtime laws were not changed, millions more workers could become eligible for overtime. Strangely enough, he also said that it would not be “in the interest” of the workers who might earn overtime eligibility.

It is time to bring the FLSA into line with current notions of public policy. If reform does not come, then the risk and expense of collective and class action litigation may compel employers to reclassify millions of workers as non-exempt [i.e., eligible for overtime], a change that is in the interest of neither the employees nor their employers.

Enjoy your long weekend, and be sure to thank a union member for their forebearers, who fought to give us the 40-hour work week, paid vacation and holidays, health care, safe working conditions, and all the other things the corporations are now busy trying to take away by paying off the Republicans.

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