Wednesday, May 8, 2013

House GOP sticks it to workers - again

House Republicans today rammed through legislation that takes money out of the pockets of hard-working U.S. employees. By a 223-204 vote, lawmakers backed HR 1406, the “Workplace Flexibility Act,” that would give corporations the upper hand when it comes to determining whether workers get comp time instead of overtime pay.

While GOP legislators continued to tout the measure as helpful to American families, Democrats rightfully stated that it takes away critical protections put in place under the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act. The bill would tamp down on salaries for many workers by pitting employees who would take comp time against those wanting overtime pay. It also gives no guarantees that employees would be able to use the comp time they earned, and would leave them vulnerable to losing earned pay if their employer went out of business.

Democrats noted that scores of pro-worker groups oppose the measure because it doesn’t help laborers and instead could prevent them from earning additional income. They also stated the effort is a waste of time because it won’t be considered by the Democratic-controlled Senate.

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) took aim at the HR 1406, saying it is nothing but a ploy that benefits employers.
“The result is longer time for workers with no overtime pay,” he said. “This bill isn’t fair, isn’t right, and isn’t going to become law. Everyone here knows it.”
Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), ranking member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, said the bill is particularly heinous given many workers’ need to earn additional income. He called the measure a violation of the 40-hour work week.
“This legislation is a shell game. It’s a trick. It’s a Trojan horse,” he said. “If an employer wants to give you time off, they can give you time off. But they won’t do that. So they dangle if you are willing to give up overtime, we will give you comp time. And then they won’t give it.”
Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-Fla.) stated workers would be more vulnerable under the measure.
“This anti-family, anti-worker bill would make it harder for families to earn a living,” she said. “No one on the other side of the aisle will say what happens when an employer says no to a comp time request.”
Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.) said it would blur the lines of the law, and noted that as a former private sector employer himself, he was able to grant comp time to those who wanted the option.
“Over 160 various organizations of every stripe, representing religious groups and women’s groups and labor groups … have given this the thumbs down,” he said. “There are much better solutions than this legislation.”
Don’t fall for the lies being put forward by supporters of HR 1406. Contact your senators today and tell them to bury this bad bill and enact real pro-worker legislation.