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 LPN’s 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. That’s 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. That’s an outage, but it’s 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.