The Building Tradesman Newspaper

Friday, December 02, 2016

News Briefs

By The Building Tradesman

Judge blocks new overtime rules

A federal judge issued an injunction against President Barack Obama’s new overtime rule on Nov. 22, a major setback that delayed one of the president’s significant reforms from going into effect on Dec. 1 as planned.

The president’s new rule would have vastly expanded overtime rights for people who work on salary, bringing new protections to an estimated 4 million workers. Businesses were expected to be compliant with the new rule by Dec. 1, but the ruling by the federal judge in Texas - and Obama appointee - grants them a reprieve.

The Department of Labor's updated overtime rule was set to raise the threshold below which salaried workers are automatically eligible for overtime pay. The new threshold is $47,476, up from $23,660.

"One reason Americans’ paychecks have not been keeping pace with their productivity is that millions of lower-middle-class and even middle-class workers have been working overtime but not getting paid for it," says the Economic Policy Institute. "The rule will create jobs and directly benefit 12.5 million working people."

Under the law, hourly workers are automatically entitled to time-and-a-half pay when they work more than 40 hours in a week. But whether salaried workers are entitled to overtime pay depends on how much money they make and what their job duties are. The White House basically changed the rules to make them more generous to workers.

Ross Eisenbrey, vice president of the Economic Policy Institute, called the ruling “extreme and unsupportable” and “a clear overreach.” The National Association of Manufacturers, meanwhile, called it “an important win for all manufacturers in America.”

"It would be difficult politically for (President-elect) Trump to effectively revoke overtime rights from millions of workers, particularly after campaigning as a champion of the working class," the Huffington Post said. "But it would be easier for him to do so if the rule never goes into effect in the first place."

Judge blocks Obama rule on 'persuaders'

LUBBOCK, Texas (PAI)—A federal judge in rural Texas has permanently blocked an Obama administration rule ordering “persuaders” – aka union-busters – to disclose how much they spend and who they’re spending it for.

Making permanent a temporary injunction he issued in June, Judge Sam Cummings of the Northern District of Texas, a Reagan appointee, said employer groups, led by the National Federation of Independent Business, showed Obama’s DOL violated business’ free speech rights by issuing the rule. NFIB is a notorious radical right business group.

“The court is of the opinion the Department of Labor’s persuader advice exemption rule...should be held unlawful and set aside,” Cummings wrote. NFIB and its allies – including nine GOP-run states led by Texas and Michigan – argued DOL’s persuader rule broke firms’ 1st Amendment rights by forcing them, and the persuaders, to disclose their spending. “The preliminary injunction preventing the implementation of the rule should be converted into a permanent injunction with nationwide effect,” Cummings’ one-page order said.