NAM, U.S. Chamber Lambast Senate Vote On Overtime Pay

By Jill Jusko The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce lost no time Sept. 10 in criticizing a Senate vote that blocks the Department of Labor from moving forward with proposed changes to a government regulation governing overtime pay. The proposed changes to the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act would expand overtime exemptions for white-collar workers. Its critics say the changes would eliminate millions of workers' ability to get paid overtime. Modernization of the regulation is long overdue, says Washington, D.C.-based NAM. "Everyone knows that revolutionary changes have occurred in the workplace since overtime regulations were written in the middle of the last century," states NAM Human Resources Police Vice President Sandy Boyd. "Never mind that the rules were created exclusively for a male, industrialized workforce and are full of outdate terms like 'straw boss,' 'leg man' and 'gang leader.'" NAM also notes that the proposed overtime rules changes would raise the base salary level -- from $13,000 to $22,000 annually -- for those who can be considered exempt workers. "The Senate's action is a clear case of politics and party rhetoric trumping common sense . . . ," adds Randel Johnson, U.S. Chamber of Commerce vice president for labor, immigration and employee benefits. The Senate passed, by a vote of 54-45, an amendment to a spending bill for health, labor and education. The vote -- which effectively blocks the proposed regulation changes -- leaves unclear the ultimate fate of the proposal; a House vote earlier this year favored the new regulations.

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