On Wednesday May 18th, Vice President Joe Biden, along with Senator Sherrod Brown and Labor Secretary Tom Perez, announced a new and final rule on overtime by the U.S. Department of Labor.
On this occasion, Ohio AFL-CIO President Tim Burga said, “The new overtime rule is a welcome and long overdue move that will ensure more working people are paid for the work they do. It has been 40 years since this regulation has been properly adjusted. Over that period, wages have dropped or stagnated for far too many. The rule will impact more than 130,000 working Ohioans who up until now have been working more and more hours for less pay. This rule will greatly benefit working families and will be a boost to local communities.”
Burga went on to say, “This is a good step in raising wages for all and will go a long way as we seek to close the ever growing problem of income inequality. I commend the Obama Administration for following through on this important adjustment as it continues to seek ways to change the rules to give working people a hand up in an economy that needs to work for all of us.”
Perez spoke to the fairness of this rule that workers should be paid for all of the work they do. “People who are working hard are all too frequently not treated fairly,” he said, adding “ When you work extra, you should be paid extra.”
He said if the threshold had been set to index to inflation back when it was set in 1975, it would be $57,000 a year today. When you’re working 60 or 70 hours a week for $24,000, that’s a poverty wage, he said. “There’s no freedom in working for free.”
The White House estimates that the rule change will raise pay by $1.2 billion a year over the next decade. In addition, some companies may instead choose to reduce their employees’ hours to avoid paying the extra wages.
“Either way, the worker wins,” said Biden on a conference call with reporters Tuesday afternoon.