Protect Overtime Pay!
CBTU Joins Fight to Stop Bush Attack On Paychecks
of Working Families
With unemployment soaring and working families struggling
to make ends meet, the Bush administration and Republicans in Congress
are trying to abolish the 40-hour work week and strip away workers
guaranteed rights to overtime pay.
But organized labor, including the AFL-CIO, CBTU and
many individual unions, has mounted a fierce and effective campaign
to protect workers rights to overtime pay.
House Republicans have proposed legislation that would
allow employers to offer comp time instead of paid overtime
but bosses would have complete control over when or even
if a worker could really take time off. The bill, called
H.R. 1119, was scheduled for a vote late last month, but was cancelled
when Republican leaders realized they did not have enough votes
to pass the legislation.
This congressional attack on overtime is just one
part of a two-pronged assault on workers paychecks. The Bush
administration is also pushing for new rules that could take effect
as soon as September of this year. These regulations, which would
drastically change overtime eligibility criteria, could take away
overtime pay from at least 8 million workers, according to a new
Economic Policy Institute study.
The EPI study shows that the millions of workers who
would lose overtime protection include firefighters, police officers,
retail clerks, cooks, tech workers, nurses, and certain medical
technicians. For example, more than 240,000 LPNs would suffer
an overtime pay cut if the new Bush rules are implemented.
Overtime pay makes up about one-fourth of the average
weekly earnings of workers who receive it. Thats an average
pay cut of $161 per week, money taken from working families to pay
for skyrocketing health care and prescription drug costs and rising
child care costs and tuition for college-bound kids.
CBTU President Bill Lucy called the overtime attack
from House Republicans and Bush the real weapon of mass destruction
destruction of fair wages, destruction of the guaranteed
40-hour workweek, destruction of jobs. Lucy said, The
end result is that fewer workers will work longer hours for less
pay. This will hit minority workers especially hard. Thats
an outage, but its not a surprise coming from a President
who just pushed through a $350 billion tax cut for his corporate
cronies. Lucy said CBTU chapters around the country will be
active in grassroots efforts to repeal the Bush overtime cuts. Enough
is enough, he said.