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April 29, 2016 | By Ross Eisenbrey | BlogFor more than two years, the Obama administration has been working on restoring and strengthening working people’s right to receive overtime pay for working more than 40 hours per week. It’s been reported that the salary threshold under which all workers, regardless of their title or responsibilities, will be eligible for overtime will be set at $47,000 a year. While this is slightly lower than DOL’s original proposal, it represents a significant step forward in the effort to boost wages for working people.
April 28, 2016 | By Ross Eisenbrey | BlogOn September 11, 2001, almost 3,000 people died in the attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the airliner crash in Pennsylvania.
April 20, 2016 | By Ross Eisenbrey | BlogColleges and universities might be facing financial pressures, but if that is a concern, they should perhaps look at the top of their organization, and not try to prevent hardworking post-docs and social workers from getting a raise.
April 12, 2016 | By Ross Eisenbrey | BlogA trial court in Wisconsin has ruled that the state’s new law banning union contracts that make every employee the union represents pay his fair share of the costs of representation is unconstitutional. The union plaintiffs and the court took a fairly novel approach to this issue.
April 6, 2016 | By Ross Eisenbrey | BlogAn association of community providers serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities commissioned a “study” by a company called Avalere to estimate the impact of the proposed overtime rule on its member agencies. Sadly, Avalere’s report is little more than a collection of baseless assumptions adding up to an absurd result.
March 30, 2016 | By Ross Eisenbrey | BlogA new report by Andrew Stettner, senior fellow at The Century Foundation, brings needed attention to the nation’s troubled unemployment insurance (UI) programs.
March 29, 2016 | By Ross Eisenbrey | Press ReleasesThe Supreme Court’s 4-4 split decision in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, which was issued today, upholds a lower court decision that permits public employee unions to assess fees on non-members who benefit from collective bargaining and union representation.
March 24, 2016 | By Ross Eisenbrey | BlogThe Department of Labor has taken another significant action to protect American workers from harm by issuing a final rule to control employee exposure to silica dust, which destroys lung tissue and causes cancer, disabling thousands of workers every year and killing hundreds more. Secretary of Labor Tom Perez and OSHA Administrator David Michaels have persevered against a political hailstorm to finish this rule, which was first conceived more than 35 years ago.
March 16, 2016 | By Ross Eisenbrey | BlogSenators Patty Murray and Sherrod Brown, together with Rep. Rosa DeLauro, are tackling one of the most important employment issues of the 21st century—wage theft, the failure of employers to pay employees what they are legally owed.
March 15, 2016 | By Ross Eisenbrey | Press ReleasesWe were excited to learn that the Department of Labor has finished work yesterday on its rule to extend overtime pay rights to millions of salaried employees, and sent it on to the Office of Management and Budget for final approval by the White House.
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.