While some 3 million Americans are wondering if they will ever get another job, the Bush administration is focusing its attention on those who are employed.
The Republican camp in Washington is attempting to pass legislation that can mean less pay, longer hours and erratic work schedules for millions of employees.
This administration wants to alter the rules that require employers to pay overtime for all work beyond 40 hours a week. That could affect up to 8 million workers
Who would it hit? Try police officers, nurses, retail supervisors and numerous others. That prediction shows up in an Economic Policy Institute report released last June.
Some details: under the Republican plan, salaried workers earning between $22,101 and $65,000 a year and who are eligible for overtime at present would be reclassified as administrative or professional employees. Good-bye, overtime pay.
Those earning relatively low salaries, but who have supervisory or managerial-related duties will be penalized, and so will workers with advanced education or specialized training. Add to the previous list of workers insurance claims adjusters and medical therapists.
Even if the new rules dont apply to your job, you could still be damaged. Many workers will be reclassified as exempt from overtime pay. It is probable that these are the workers employers will assign to extra work and so cut out overtime for other workers.
Analysts of this program say anyone earning $65,000 or more annually will likely lose overtime pay, cutting out much-needed income for middle-income workers.
The U.S. Labor Department estimates the proposed rules changes would mean between 2.1 million and 3.3 million workers will face unpredictable work schedules because of a demand for extra hours for which employers would not be required to pay time-and-a-half.
President Bush is about to finalize these changes and take away the 40-hour week and overtime pay, which were won by hard fighting by organized labor years ago.
If you disagree with Bushs and the Republicans plan, you can add your name to a petition opposing it. The petition can be found on the Internet at: www.saveovertimepay.org/.