By Area of Research:
February 11, 2016 | By Ross Eisenbrey | BlogDozens of Republican members of Congress and two Democrats—Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) and Brad Ashford (D-Neb.)—have signed a letter to Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez about the Department of Labor’s (DOL) proposed rule on overtime pay for salaried employees, calling on him “to reconsider moving forward with this rule as drafted.” Oddly, a good part of the letter complains about provisions that are not in the proposed rule “as drafted.” The signers should be thanking the secretary, rather than complaining.
February 10, 2016 | By Ross Eisenbrey | BlogNothing better illustrates why workers need a strong enforcement effort from OSHA than trenching violations, such as putting workers into ten-foot deep trenches in loose soil without shoring the sides or protecting them with a metal trench box. Year after year, two to three dozen workers are killed when trench walls cave in, burying them in tons of dirt and rock, crushing their lungs. A single cubic yard of soil can weigh up to 3,000 pounds, and a worker caught by a cave-in can die even when his heads is not buried.
January 28, 2016 | By Ross Eisenbrey | BlogPresident Obama has announced a package of reforms to repair some of the damage done in recent years to the unemployment insurance system and to provide more help to workers at risk of losing jobs—incentives for employers to retain workers, more income support for job losers, and more help getting retrained and back to work. Reforms are needed, and most of the president’s proposals are obviously helpful.
January 28, 2016 | By Ross Eisenbrey | Economic SnapshotEmployees are much less likely to win in mandatory arbitration than in federal court: employees in mandatory arbitration win only about a fifth of the time (21.4 percent), whereas they win over one-third (36.4 percent) of the time in federal courts.
January 12, 2016 | By Ross Eisenbrey | BlogIf the anti-union forces win the Friedrichs case and government unions can no longer bargain for fair share agreements, wages will fall in the public sector, and eventually in the private sector as well, since employers in both sectors compete for the same workers and wage demands will decrease.
National Association of Manufacturers’ criticisms of the Obama overtime proposal all miss their mark
January 11, 2016 | By Ross Eisenbrey | BlogLast September, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) filed comments in opposition to the Labor Department’s proposed rule on overtime pay for salaried workers, which would raise the salary threshold under which all workers are eligible for overtime pay from $23,660 to $50,440. NAM’s chief criticism boils down to this: “The Labor Department set the salary level threshold for exemption too high.” The evidence NAM presents to support that criticism, however, is inaccurate, irrelevant, or contradicts its claims.
December 17, 2015 | By Ross Eisenbrey | BlogSenator Barbara Mikulski claims that her efforts to gut the Department of Labor’s H-2B visa program regulations are all about trying to protect the Maryland seafood industry, which she claims is at risk because few Americans are willing to take oyster and crab-shucking jobs for minimum wage. What she doesn’t tell the public is that the H-2B visa program she’s expanding—while simultaneously gutting all of its rules—is used mostly to bring in landscape laborers and gardeners, not crab pickers.
December 16, 2015 | By Ross Eisenbrey | BlogThe Obama administration deserves the nation’s thanks for standing up to the financial industry and its army of lobbyists on a matter of principle as well as practical importance: holding financial advisers accountable to their clients.
proposed rule requiring all financial advisors to have a fiduciary responsibility to the people they’re advising. This is a no-brainer, even if it’s only a small step toward addressing conflicts of interest in retirement saving. Specifically, Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez and Assistant Secretary Phyllis Borzi hope to curb the practice of inducing people to roll over 401(k) funds into high-cost IRAs, a practice that the president’s Council of Economic Advisors (CEA) estimated costs Americans $17 billion a year.
News from EPI › Criminal conviction of former Massey Energy CEO brings some justice to West Virginia
December 3, 2015 | By Ross Eisenbrey | Press ReleasesAt least partial justice was done today in West Virginia when a federal jury convicted Don Blankenship, the former CEO of Massey Energy, of conspiracy to commit mine safety violations.
November 6, 2015 | By Ross Eisenbrey | BlogThe National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB), both in congressional testimony and in the official comments it submitted to the Department of Labor, makes a strong case for the Obama administration’s proposed rule on the overtime rights of salaried workers.
November 2, 2015 | By Ross Eisenbrey | BlogThe New York Times has published two parts of a three-part series about the epidemic of arbitration clauses that have cropped up in millions of transactions between corporations and their customers and employees.
Raising the overtime salary threshold is an important improvement in working families’ labor standards
October 8, 2015 | By Ross Eisenbrey | TestimonyEPI Vice President Ross Eisenbrey delivered the following testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Small Business Subcommittee on Investigations, Oversight, and Regulations, on Thursday, October 8, 2015.
October 7, 2015 | By Ross Eisenbrey | BlogThis will be the first in a series of blog posts examining some of the comments submitted to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) in response to its notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) on overtime pay for salaried employees.
September 18, 2015 | By Ross Eisenbrey | BlogAs the Boomers age and retirement insecurity forces workers to delay retirement, workers 55 and older are a growing part of the workforce.
September 16, 2015 | By Ross Eisenbrey | StatementOn Sept. 16, 2015, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-Va.) introduced the Workplace Action for a Growing Economy (WAGE) Act, legislation to strengthen protections for workers who want to raise wages and improve workplace conditions.
September 8, 2015 | By Ross Eisenbrey | BlogThe White House sent a Labor Day message from Director of the Office of Management and Budget Shaun Donovan about the many important issues affecting working Americans that will be decided in the next month of congressional budget negotiations.
September 4, 2015 | By Ross Eisenbrey | Commentary57 law professors, including some of the nation’s foremost experts on the Fair Labor Standards Act, submitted comments to the Department of Labor on its rulemaking concerning exemptions from the minimum wage and overtime pay requirement of the FLSA.
September 1, 2015 | By Ross Eisenbrey | BlogLast week’s decision by the National Labor Relations Board regarding Browning-Ferris Industries of California (BFI) is a big victory for working people and labor advocates. By holding that BFI is a joint employer with the staffing agency that provides all but a few of the workers at one of BFI’s recycling centers, the decision closes one of the many loopholes corporations use to avoid paying decent wages, Social Security and Medicare taxes, worker’s compensation premiums and unemployment insurance taxes, and to avoid even providing a safe workplace.
August 27, 2015 | By Ross Eisenbrey | BlogThe Obama administration’s decision to require fair pay and protection against excessive work hours for nearly two million (mostly female) caregivers who have struggled to earn enough to make ends meet was not a power grab—it was a caring Labor Department using the authority Congress gave it to protect some of the most vulnerable workers in the United States.
July 24, 2015 | By Ross Eisenbrey | MultimediaEPI Vice President Ross Eisenbrey testified before a hearing held by the U.S. House Subcommittee on Workforce Protections on the topic of the Obama administration’s new overtime proposal.
July 23, 2015 | By Ross Eisenbrey | TestimonyTestimony of EPI Vice President Ross Eisenbrey on July 23, 2015, before the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Workforce Protections’ hearing, “Examining the Costs and Consequences of the Administration’s Overtime Proposal.” Secretary of Labor Tom Perez and President Obama should be applauded for the steps they have taken to restore and strengthen the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime protections.
EPI Economist Explains the Importance of President Obama’s Overtime Rules and How They Can Benefit You
July 7, 2015 | By Ross Eisenbrey | MultimediaEPI vice president Ross Eisenbrey talked with The Rick Smith Show about the new overtime salary threshold and how overtime protections affect U.S.
July 6, 2015 | By Ross Eisenbrey | MultimediaSince 1938, we’ve had laws to protect workers from being forced to work overtime without getting paid for it. It’s a simple principle: pay people for the work they do.
July 6, 2015 | By Ross Eisenbrey | AudioEPI vice president Ross Eisenbrey joined Texas Public Radio’s “The Source” to discuss how the new overtime salary threshold affects workers and the economy.