WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today regarding the implementation of unprecedented new rules by the Department of Labor that will strip up to 6 million workers of their right to overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The Bush Administration forced the regulation changes through despite bipartisan opposition of Congress:
“American workers, already suffering in a stagnant economy with almost no wage growth, will be hit with another setback today. Changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act that take effect could deny up to 6 million working Americans the right to fair overtime pay protection. Essentially, this Republican Administration is saying that working families cannot be guaranteed that their extra work will be compensated.”
“The fact is, working families have borne the brunt of the Republican Party’s failed economic policies and these new overtime rules reinforce that sad reality. President Bush promised to create 6 million new jobs and to help the middle class. But under the Bush Administration and this Republican Congress, our economy has lost more than 1.8 million net private sector jobs, and 2.6 million jobs in the manufacturing sector. And the most recent unemployment figures from July show that only a paltry 32,000 new jobs were created in July.
“What's more, President Bush has ignored the fact that these harmful regulations were spurned by bipartisan majorities of both chambers of Congress. Democrats and Republicans together have opposed changes that would deny employees fair compensation since they were first proposed by President Bush in March 2003.
“Hewitt Associates, a human resources consultant, said that ‘employees previously accustomed to earning, in some cases, significant amounts of overtime pay would suddenly lose that opportunity.’ And the law firm Proskauer Rose told clients, ‘thankfully, virtually all of these changes should ultimately be beneficial to employers.’
“With the loss of millions of jobs since George W. Bush took office, it is unconscionable that the Administration would now zero in on those who still are working and try to deprive them of their overtime pay. The 40-hour work week is a staple in American life, and Democrats will continue to fight Republican efforts to withhold pay from deserving employees.”