Anti-worker majority adds overtime pay to target list As openly anti-worker and anti-union politicians flex their unchecked majority power in Washington and in the states, they have now added overtime pay to their list of workers’ rights to be reduced. They want to limit prevailing wages—even on the promised “good jobs” for infrastructure work. They want national “right-to work” (for less) laws to let freeloaders work under hard-earned union contracts without paying any union dues. Now, these same business-backed politicians want to allow employers to convert overtime pay into time off—on dates that the employer alone can choose. Right-to-work issues are well known; here are other updates. Ending overtime pay A measure rammed through the U.S. House by Republican sponsors (the “Working Families Flexibility Act”) would let employers give workers paid time off instead of paid wages for overtime hours. The Trump administration backs the anti-worker bill. All Democrats plus six Republicans voted against it. A glaring fault in the bill is that workers cannot choose when and how they take time off: employers have final say on who works when and can defer at will when workers may actually “cash in” their days off. Ross Eisenbrey, head economist at the Economic Policy Institute, says, “the legislation forces the employee to give the employer a loan—unsecured, interest-free— of the overtime pay, in order to have the hope—not a guarantee, but the hope—of having some time off later on.” The legislation is now pending in the U.S. Senate where it is expected to be considered in the summer. Prevailing Wages: Wisconsin seeks ban, Indiana admits no value In Wisconsin, GOP leaders have recently introduced a bill to eliminate prevailing wage on all state construction projects. Republicans tried the bill two years ago but had to settle for Republican Governor Scott Walker using the state budget to end coverage on local projects. Walker’s new budget called for a complete elimination of prevailing wage for construction workers on all state projects. This is despite a pro-repeal GOP leader acknowledging the truth: the repeal has saved... nothing. Such admissions are rare, and this one is from Indiana—where, as Governor, Vice President Mike Pence pushed through a repeal of the state’s 80-year-old, bipartisan “common construction” wage system. Even Pence’s own state Republican leaders now admit that their 2016 repeal has failed taxpayers, construction workers, and communities in that state. Below are quotes from videotaped remarks, made by Indiana House Assistant Majority Leader Ed Soliday (R) to Republican leaders from other states, on the false claims and unmet promises made by those who pushed repeal of Indiana’s state law on prevailing wages. “We got rid of prevailing wage and so far it hasn’t saved a penny. “Probably the people most upset with [the repeal] were the local [communities.] [They] like to pay local contractors and they like local contractors to go to the dentist in their own town. “The exaggerations in those hearings [were] that we were going save 22%. Well, total labor costs right now in road construction [add up to] about 22%, and I haven’t noticed anyone who’s going to work for free. “[Repeal advocates claim] there’s some magic state out there that’s going to send all these workers in to work for $10 an hour, and it’s just not going to happen. There’s not 22% savings out there when the total cost of labor is 22%. “It’s rhetoric. So far, I haven’t seen a dime of savings out of it.
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