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Tell Democratic leaders: Don’t let Republicans block a raise for America

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Petition to Democratic leaders:

"Don’t let Republicans block a raise for millions of Americans by impeding overtime reforms."

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    Tell Democratic leaders: Don’t let Republicans block a raise for America

    Republicans in Congress are showing their true colors and plotting to block a raise for nearly 12.5 million Americans.1

    In a victory for the tens of thousands of CREDO members who encouraged President Obama to act fast, the administration recently announced modernized overtime pay rules. The new rules will crack down on the worst abuses by companies trying to avoid rewarding hard work, and mean that millions of Americans will now be owed overtime pay.2

    The overtime reforms could be one of the most impactful achievements of the Obama era, so it’s no surprise Republicans are already vowing to block the new rules.3 We need to make sure Democrats hold the line and prevent Republicans from sabotaging a raise for working Americans.

    Tell Democratic leaders: Don’t let Republicans block a raise for America.

    In 1975, 65 percent of salaried employees received overtime pay if they worked over 40 hours a week. Until the recent reforms, that number was less than 11 percent.4 Since 2004, salaried employees were only eligible for time-and-a-half-overtime pay if they made less than $23,660, below the poverty level for a family of four. Under the new rules, the threshold is $47,476.5

    The new rules also crack down on businesses that use massive loopholes to pay far less than the minimum wage. Today, some fast food companies pay employees the equivalent of a 40-hour-week at minimum wage – but force them to work 60 or more hours per week, spending 95 percent of their time at the cash register or sweeping floors, all while labeling them “managers” to deny time-and-a-half pay.6

    It all adds up to a raise for nearly 12.5 million workers, and an economic boost for all of us from putting more money in the pockets of everyday Americans. But that won’t stop Republicans from trying to kill the reforms. Because the administration listened to CREDO members and acted fast, Republicans don’t have time to stall the bill in Congress. Their best hope is to put language blocking the changes in a must-pass spending bill.7 That means if Democrats stay united, Republican plots to block the overtime raise will fail.

    Tell Democratic leaders: Don’t let Republicans block a raise for America.

    Despite Republican complaints, President Obama has the authority to update the overtime threshold just as the Bush administration did in 2004.8 The real injustice is that if the overtime level had simply risen with inflation, it would be nearly $52,000 today. In fact, Rep. Mark Takano other progressive champions in the House long called for raising the threshold to $69,000, so it would would again cover 65 percent of salaried employees.9 By comparison, the administration’s modest reform sets the level at only $47,476, far lower than it should be, and nearly $3,000 lower than the administration’s own draft proposal from 2015.10

    More than 60,000 CREDO members told the Labor Department to stand strong on bold new reforms. We joined with our friends in the progressive movement to deliver more than 300,000 signatures in support of raising overtime pay, and more than 70,000 CREDO members successfully urged the administration to release the reforms this spring. All that hard work could be lost if Democrats don’t stay united. Let’s make sure they know we are counting on them – and will stand with them if they hold the line.

    Tell Democratic leaders: Don’t let Republicans block a raise for America.

    Thank you for speaking out.

    1. Dave Jamieson, “Obama Is Bringing Overtime Pay To Millions Of Workers,” Huffington Post, May 17, 2016.
    2. Ibid.
    3. Noam Scheiber, “White House Increases Overtime Eligibility by Millions,” The New York Times, May 17, 2016.
    4. Rep. Mark Takano and 31 House Democrats Call for Expanded Overtime Pay,” Takano.House.gov, January 19, 2015.
    5. Jamieson, “Obama Is Bringing Overtime Pay To Millions Of Workers.”
    6. Why It’s Time to Update Overtime Pay Rules: Frequently Asked Questions,” Economic Policy Institute, October 21, 2014.
    7. Jamieson, “Obama Is Bringing Overtime Pay To Millions Of Workers.”
    8. Ibid.
    9. Ross Eisenbrey, “Where Should the Overtime Salary Threshold Be Set? A Comparison of Four Proposals to Increase Overtime Coverage,” Economic Policy Institute, December 23, 2014.
    10. Jamieson, “Obama Is Bringing Overtime Pay To Millions Of Workers.”