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40-hour workweek, overtime pay under attack by House Republicans

UPDATE (May 3, 2017) — On Tuesday afternoon, the House voted to allow private-sector employers to avoid paying overtime pay by offering “compensatory time” off, essentially eliminating the 40-hour workweek. The bill passed 229-197, largely along party lines. Washington Republican Reps. Jaime Herrera Beutler, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Dan Newhouse and Dave Reichert all voted to end the 40-hour workweek, while every Democratic member from the state voted “no.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 26, 2017) — Republican leaders in Congress just launched a new attack on the 40-hour workweek. H.R. 1180, which they call the “Working Families Flexibility Act of 2017,” would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act to allow private-sector employers to “compensate” hourly workers with compensatory time off in lieu of overtime pay.

“They want to let big corporations and greedy CEOs get out of giving working people any extra pay for overtime work,” said AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler. “No matter how much Republican legislators dress it up in language about ‘flexibility’ and ‘choice,’ this legislation comes down to one thing: longer hours for less pay.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan and extreme Republican leaders in the House have tried to pass similar legislation in the past, but organized labor and workers’ advocates were able to stop them. With Republicans in control of Congress and the White House, the AFL-CIO is urging all to turn up the pressure again and tell their members of Congress to oppose this legislation.

TAKE A STAND!Send an email now to tell your representative not to steal overtime pay from working people. So far, no Republicans from Washington state have signed on as co-sponsors, but this week they are being asked to sign it. Just yesterday, 10 House Republicans became co-sponsors. So send an email now and tell all of Washington’s members of Congress: Don’t support this terrible attack on working families’ wages!

If H.R. 1180 is passed, employers could choose to give working people time off instead of paying them the required “time and a half” for overtime hours worked. It’s “paid leave,” sort of, but workers wouldn’t be making as much as they would if they just were paid the standard overtime rate.

The Economic Policy Institute reports:

“The legislation does not create employee rights, rather it creates a new employer right — the right to delay paying any wages for overtime work for as long as 13 months. The legislation forces workers to compromise their paychecks for the possibility – but not the guarantee – that they will get time off from work when they need it. At no risk to the employee, the FLSA already allows an employer to grant time off to employees who work overtime. H.R. 1180 adds nothing but delay and risk to the employees’ right to receive extra compensation when they work more than 40 hours in a week.”

“The bottom line is this bill is a direct attack on the 40-hour workweek,” Shuler said. “It gives corporations an incentive to demand longer hours from working people because they would have to pay less money. Making mandatory overtime cheaper for employers would result in more unpredictable worker schedules and for people with children, higher day care costs.”

Click here to write your representative and tell her or him: Don’t steal overtime pay from working people.

CHECK OUT THE UNION DIFFERENCE in Washington: higher wages, affordable health and dental care, job and retirement security.

FIND OUT HOW TO JOIN TOGETHER with your co-workers to negotiate for better wages, benefits, and a voice at work. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!