Death to the 40 hour week.

boddhisatva kbevans at
Sun Apr 14 02:04:18 MDT 1996



    By Claton Collins

    Surely it's not to much to ask. You put in 20 hours of overtime one week,
you should see it in your paycheck. But the money you've been hoping to bank,
and the security you expected to gain from your long hours, are in danger.
The new worker nightmare is coming from Washington disguised as the "Work and
Family Intergration Act."

    This new attack has its sights set on the elimination of overtime for
workers exceeding a 40-hour work week. Incredibly, it could become reality.

    If you're like the typical worker, that means you could soon see the
extra compensation you diserve disappear. For the typical worker, that could
translate into an 18 percent pay cut, or loss of more than $5,000 a year.

    Currently, about 77 million workers are protected by the Fair Labor
Standards Act (flsa), which offers provisions that ensure time-and-a-half-pay
for workers who put in more than 40 hours in a given week. That's the basic
protection. It's hardly too much to ask of corporations, and it functions as
a good system for rewarding hard work.

    But, once again, big business has trampled over workers while fixating on
the bottom line. And, once again, politicians seeking the support of
big-business special interest groups are scurrying to please there masters.


    The prize they hope to deliver this time is bill number S.1129, which is
now befor the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee. S.1129 would gut
the FLSA and eliminate the current 40-hour week standard for overtime. S.1129
would force workers to put in 160 hours during four-week "work periods" befor
qualifying for the overtime that is such an important part of many worker's
incomes (44 percent of workers receiving overtime earn less than $8 an hour;
81 percent less than $14). That means you could possibly work 20 consecutive
eight-hour days.

    A worker might be expected to put in 70 hours one week, 50 the next, and
then 40-and then be told to take the next week off. "Flextime" is a nice
concept, but not when it is arbitrarily imposed. The new bill, which goes by
H.R. 2723 in the House of Representatives, would also allow time-and-a-half
overtime pay to be replaced by "comp" time issued at a straight-time
exchange. That's a great deal for business; a lousy one for you.

    Needless to say, big business is in the driver's seat on this one. It is
almost insulting that backers of the bill like to call it the "Work and
Family Integration Act," a sugar coated name that falsely implies new help
for families who are struggling to balance multiple jobs and much-needed
family time.

    What S.1129 really stands to do is dump billions of dollars into the
coffers of employers, at the same time giving them undue leverage, as tired
feel compeled to keep pace with the new demands or risk being replaced.

    Workers invest a great portion of there lives in keeping American
industry competitive, and keeping there company productive. When they choose
to serve after regular hours, they are making a personal sacrifice that
warrants extra compensation. When they make that sacrifice, workers have a
right to expect overtime pay. After all, corporations demand just as much and
more from there workers. Stand up against those in government who are trying
to take away that right.


    Call the Capitol at (800) 972-3254; ask for your Senator or
Representative by name and urge them to oppose S.1129 or H.R. 2723.

    Write to your Senator: The Honorable [name], U.S. Senate, Washington, DC
20510: write to your representative: The Honorable [name], U.S. House of
Representatives, Washington, DC 20515.

    Mark Clark
    IBPAT Local 1118
    South Bend,  IN

	I think that the Republicans have finally lost their minds.


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