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Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Don't be fooled - Bush is gutting overtime
via Moveon.org

Today, the Bush administration is formally introducing new rules that will make
millions of people ineligible for overtime protection when they work more than 40 hours per week.

This change has been in the works for months, and thousands of MoveOn members have called on Congress to oppose the new rules. Congress has responded -- bipartisan majorities in both houses have voted against rolling back overtime.

Bush is feeling the heat, but his corporate-CEO backers are determined to fatten their profits by shortchanging working people, so the White House is pushing ahead with the new rules, accompanied by an aggressive spin campaign. Already, stories in the AP [1] and the Washington Post [2] have suggested that Bush had a last-minute change of heart, and acted to extend overtime protections to more people, rather than gutting them.

Don't be fooled.

The rules introduced today would in fact take away overtime pay from workers earning as little as $23,660.- a year. This would be a huge pay cut for potentially millions of working Americans and their families.

It's urgent that we get the real story out.

The media have it wrong -- Bush is cutting overtime pay

The Bush Administration has said that only workers earning less than $23,660 a year would be guaranteed the right to overtime pay. Everybody earning more than that amount could be caught up in several other changes to eligibility rules that take away overtime pay. For nine months, the Administration has been fighting tooth and nail to kill legislation approved by both houses of Congress that would do nothing more than prohibit overtime cuts. The Senate and House already voted once last year to prohibit overtime cuts, but the White House strong-armed Congress to prevent that overtime protection from becoming law.

Low-income workers

The Bush Administration has been loudly exaggerating the benefits of a helpful but woefully inadequate change that would expand overtime coverage for some workers. This group is extremely small because most workers who might be helped don't need the help. They are already guaranteed overtime pay through other criteria, based on their job responsibilities.

Overtime cuts kill jobs

The Bush overtime cuts will hurt the economy. By taking away workers’ overtime rights, President Bush is discouraging job creation. He is encouraging businesses to overwork their existing staff (for no extra pay) rather than hire new workers. The overtime statute was originally intended to encourage job creation.

Overtime cuts are pay cuts

The new Bush overtime regulation is a pay cut for American workers. When workers are stripped of their overtime rights, their employers can now force them to work overtime for no extra pay. Overtime pay makes up one-fourth of the weekly earnings of workers who earn overtime, an average of $161 per week.

Bush has a credibility gap on overtime.

Over the past year, Administration officials have repeatedly misrepresented their proposal and its effects on workers. The Department of Labor (DOL) routinely claimed that only 644,000 people would lose overtime protection, when its own economic analysis concluded that an additional 1.5 to 2.7 million people would be affected. We also know that DOL inflated the number of low-income workers who would benefit, and in fact DOL admits it has no way of knowing how many would benefit, if any.

-----

Notes:

Here are two early articles that fall for the Bush administration's spin:

[1] Associated Press
http://www.timesleader.com/mld/timesleader/news/8469637.htm

[2] Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A25433-2004Apr19.html
_______________

Can you help, by sending a letter to the editor of your newspaper today? Writing a letter takes only a few minutes, and we've made it easy with tips and talking points, below.

Please take a few minutes to send a letter to your editor today.

Thank you, for all you do.

Sincerely,

- Peter Schurman
MoveOn.org
Tuesday, April 20, 2004


RESOURCES FOR LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

I. Tips on how to get your letter published:

- Your own words, written from the heart, are always best.

- Brevity is the soul of wit.

- The key to publication is to pounce on something specific you've
seen in the newspaper -- an article like the AP's, falling for the
Bush spin, is perfect.

- Be sure to include your name and address, and especially your phone
number when submitting your letter. Editors need to call you to
verify authorship before they can print your letter. They don't
print your phone number.

- Your newspaper's letters page should give you an email address or
fax number to use, or you can try this website:

http://congress.org/congressorg/dbq/media/

- Please let us know when you've sent your letter by going to:

http://www.moveon.org/OTltes.html?id=2701-2587587-uOH5OuDGxg0Du7ycBXgjHA


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