Speak up for stronger overtime protections

A Special Message from Ohio AFL-CIO President Tim Burga

Yesterday, I had the privilege, along with Secretary/Treasurer Petee Talley, Ohio Federation of Teachers President Melissa Cropper and Ohio Association of Professional Fire Fighter’s President Mark Sanders, to join Vice President Joe Biden as he announced a historic new overtime rule that will raise the wages of millions of hard-working people, including 134,000 workers right here in Ohio.

Over the past 40 years, overtime protections eroded as a result of inflation and lobbyists’ efforts to weaken them. The share of full-time workers qualifying for overtime based on their salaries has plummeted from 62 percent in 1975 to 7 percent today—even though the protections are more important than ever.

This is a good step in raising wages for all and will go a long way as we seek to close the ever growing problem of income inequality. I commend the Obama Administration for following through on this important adjustment as it continues to seek ways to change the rules to give working people a hand up in an economy that needs to work for all of us.

Say you support the new rule — add your name now in favor of expanded overtime protections.
The announcement was held in Columbus at Jeni’s Ice Cream along with our great Senator Sherrod Brown and Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez.

Overtime protections were first put into place by the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, and established the general standard that workers be paid time-and-a-half for any hours worked over 40 hours in a week. In general, all hourly employees are guaranteed overtime, and salaried employees are presumed to have the same guarantee unless they both: (1) make more than a salary threshold set by the Department of Labor, and (2) pass a test demonstrating that they primarily perform executive, administrative, or professional duties. A limited number of occupations are not eligible for overtime pay (including teachers, doctors, and lawyers) or are subject to special provisions.

However the salary threshold has not been raised since 1975 and is long overdue. Working people’s wages have been stagnant too long and this is a great first step in allowing 4.2 million American workers to help sustain their family.

Here are five quick things you should know about this rule that will help Raise The Wage for millions of hard-working Americans.

  • Raise the salary threshold from $23,660 to $47,476 a year, or from $455 to $913 a week.
  • Raise Americans’ wages by an estimated $12 billion over the next 10 years, with an average increase of $1.2 billion annually.
  • Extend overtime protections to 4.2 million additional workers who are not currently eligible for overtime under federal law.
  • Update the salary threshold every three years.
  • More than half − 56 percent − are women, which translates into 2.4 million women either gaining overtime protections or getting a raise to the new threshold as a result of the rule.

I hope you will join the conversation by checking out dol.gov/overtime for more information, tweet using #OTrule, and share this video video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFJaDm720FU