There’s a Whistle Up Above and People Pushing, People Shoving

President Obamahitlerstalin is going to pull out the pen marked “for unconstitutional use only” and signed an executive order (no doubt printed on pink paper) to do the following:

On Thursday, the president will direct the Labor Department to revamp its regulations to require overtime pay for several million additional fast-food managers, loan officers, computer technicians and others whom many businesses currently classify as “executive or professional” employees to avoid paying them overtime, according to White House officials briefed on the announcement.

How will our free market system survive without the oldest ruse in the book? Didn’t Jesus preach a sermon about classifying low-paid labor as professionals? If so, I think McDonald’s and Burger King’s religious freedom is being violated.

And, by the way, this executive order just reverses one that Bush signed in 2004.

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60 replies
  1. 1
    rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone.

    Had to shovel for 45 minutes before I went to work today :(

  2. 2
    Betsy says:

    This is really huge. These regs were changed during the Bush the Stupider administration to put huge categories of line-workers into the “free overtime” category, at the lobbying behest of employers.

    This change will not only help these workers directly, but it will also push back against the trend for constant work by everyone all the time, since a significant number of workers affected by this change will no longer be pitted one against another to see who can give the company more.

  3. 3
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    And, by the way, this executive order just reverses one that Bush signed in 2004.

    Yes, but that was small ‘d’ democracy in action.

  4. 4
    c u n d gulag says:

    Jesus Christ said nothing about overtime, in his “Sermon on the Amount!”

  5. 5
    cleek says:

    the prophet Rob Halford forsaw the rise of Obama, in the distant days of 1976:

    Tyrant!

    Behold ’tis I the commander
    Whose grip controls you all
    Resist me not, surrender
    I’ll no compassion call

    (tyrant) capture of humanity
    (tyrant) conqueror of all
    (tyrant) hideous destructor
    (tyrant) every man shall fall


    Mourn for us oppressed in fear
    Chained and shackled we are bound
    Freedom choked in dread we live
    Since tyrant was enthroned

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....feature=kp

  6. 6
    gene108 says:

    Sadly this sign of weakness from President Obama will only embolden our enemies* and cost American lives in the future.**

    * The list is long and ever changing, but I think it includes the Taliban, Russia, Venezuela, France, the Girl Scouts (promoting the homosexual lifestyle they are), etc.

    ** The next Republican President will have to clean up the mess made by Democratic Presidents, who do not double or triple defense spending, by starting a new shooting war that will get Americans killed but will pump military spending to adequate levels to keep us safe.

  7. 7
    Chyron HR says:

    @rikyrah:

    The snow dog is victorious, but AT WHAT COST?

  8. 8
    beth says:

    The other day my kid went to work her 3pm-8pm shift at the grocery store. After working for about an hour, they told her to punch out and go sit in her car for “about 45 minutes” because they were going to go over their payroll budget. They didn’t want her to go home, though, in case it got busy and they got slammed. Then they wound up making her stay until 10 since someone didn’t show up for work. This is the kind of shit they get away with, especially with teenage workers who don’t know any better or older workers who really need the job. I’m all for anything that forces these greedy bastards to pay their employees better. The stuff they can get away with these days is unbelievable.

  9. 9
    Bobby Thomson says:

    Notice that in the linked article, Kevin Drum pushes a both-sides-do-it (executive orders) angle, while failing to mention that this is yet more evidence disproving his “Democrats are just the same because they never help the working class” argument he made yesterday.

    He’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

  10. 10
    aimai says:

    @beth: Christ, what a story.

  11. 11
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @beth: Funny, nobody ever tried that with me. I wonder if it was because I was a union carpenter? Nahhhh….. It was the free market in action.

  12. 12
    Someguy says:

    It’s about time that salaried workers making the average national household income were eligible for overtime.

  13. 13
    Josie says:

    My son drove a truck for a beer and wine distributor for three years. He was on salary and at first that looked pretty good since he went in early (6:00 a.m.) and finished early (2:00 p.m.). By the time he quit they were making the drivers run two routes per day, working until 6:00 p.m or later for no increase in salary. He called bullshit and is working now at a different job for an hourly wage with actual overtime. I don’t know if truckers are included in this change, but they should be. It is criminal the way big companies take advantage of workers in our “right to work” states.

  14. 14
    Schlemizel says:

    @beth:

    That is not an isolated incident – I have co-workers whos kids had the exact same experience.

    In my sons case he was their ‘star’ and they trusted him to open for a while and then close for a stretch. That involved unlock & locking up, opening the safe, justifying all the registers closing the safe – not exactly kid stuff (he was 16). They constantly counted on him when they got jammed. Then, the manager told him they wanted him to open every morning, work from 6-8 then come back a 9 PM and work 9-11 to close the place. When he told them that would interfere with his school work they told him he would not remain employed there if he refused. He quit.

  15. 15
    C.V. Danes says:

    Jeez. Maybe our so-called job creators will have to hire more people now instead of sucking the life out of the serfs who work for them now.

  16. 16
    Yatsuno says:

    @beth: Lemme guess: non-union store? Beause good luck trying to get away with that at most Kroger or Safeway. And she should contact the DOL. That’s a clear labour violation. If they make her give up her time they should compensate her for it.

  17. 17
    Belafon says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: It also helps that you were a carpenter, not a grocery worker.

  18. 18
    StringOnAStick says:

    @aimai: Unfortunately it is also a very, very typical story. My BIL worked for years in grocery/retail, and this is an everyday thing. His ex-girlfriend is constantly forced off the clock after her 8 hours and has to stay an additional 2 to 4. As a single mom with a useless ex-husband, this really messes with her life and the life of her kids. She’s tried to train herself to get into a different line of work, but how do you fit classes in around an irregular schedule and a 50 to 60 hour work week?

    In other news, I’m sitting here watching the movers cart things out from my FIL’s and BIL’s house to move to the new place 90 miles away. It snowed 8 inches overnight, is still snowing hard, the drive there is going to be horrible and the moving van may opt to not attempt to get there for another day or two because of weather. My 88 year FIL can’t sleep on the floor and we’re not thrilled at the prospect either, so maybe hotels tonight? FIL isn’t handling this move well at all since it is all at the BIL’s insistence because the 90 mile commute is hideous, but it is either move with him or move into assisted living, the suggestion of which brings howls of protest. It is rough getting old, especially when you’ve always been a depressive and had a sour outlook on life.

  19. 19
    jonas says:

    But if poor, overburdened companies can’t make their employees work more for no overtime, that means they’d have to go out and hire more people and that makes capitalist Jesus cry.

  20. 20
    Corner Stone says:

    Can’t wait to see the CBO report on effects of this change so Republicans can pull quote something like, “CBO states that this will make companies less productive!”
    Yeah, you goons. Where did you think the dramatic improvement in company productivity came from?
    They’ve been stealing it from us because there is jack and shit most people can do about it.

  21. 21
    Napoleon says:

    @Bobby Thomson:

    . . . while failing to mention that this is yet more evidence disproving his “Democrats are just the same because they never help the working class” argument he made yesterday.

    It does not disprove his theory. I suggest you actually read what he wrote.

  22. 22
    Mark B. says:

    Damn. I just retired from my software developer job that routinely required 60 hour weeks during peak times. Could have used this a few years ago.

  23. 23
    MattF says:

    These are the same people who are claiming that we are already at full employment, so there’s no need for more economic stimulus. See Krugman:

    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.c.....egion=Body

  24. 24
    beth says:

    @Yatsuno: Since it’s over 30 minutes, it’s technically a meal break and doesn’t have to be paid. And since she “technically” was free to do whatever she wanted during it (it was “suggested” she stay in her car but not required) no compensation was needed. I guess she could make a fuss about it but I’m guessing she wouldn’t have the job very long if she did. They started asking her to work the overnight shift at age 16 and I put my foot down about that. Why would you even ask a kid in high school to work those hours? What kind of person does that?

  25. 25
    PurpleGirl says:

    @StringOnAStick: A hotel tonight. In the longer run it will be better for all of you to sleep in a bed, or even just rest in a decent room on a bed.

  26. 26
    aretino says:

    surely you mean president oSamahitlerstalin

  27. 27
    JoyfulA says:

    Does this include nurses, who were very badly affected by the Bush changes?

  28. 28
    cleek says:

    i worked 60 hour weeks when i was a teenager, but only during the summer. and i got overtime pay for those extra 20 (NY FTW).

  29. 29
    piratedan says:

    @beth: the one where some middle management type ambles up and says… “young lady, I see that you could have a future with this company, a future of being exploited and then discarded if you guys ever go union, that is….”

  30. 30
    PurpleGirl says:

    @beth:

    What kind of person does that?

    A greedy SOB.

  31. 31
    srv says:

    That man keeps taking away the freedoms of worker drones to be drones.

  32. 32
    Elizabelle says:

    Unregulated capitalism is ugly.

    I wish the exploiters and banksters realized Obama is what is saving them from bricks and tumbrels.

    Any guesses on how long the press keeps up its Obama is a jobs destroyer! meme before it dribbles upwards that this executive order might be economic justice?

    Might even be popular, with those who watch their kids (or themselves) get exploited?

  33. 33
    PurpleGirl says:

    Back when I worked for LeBoeuf Lamb, I was paid an hourly wage and I received overtime when overtime was required to finish a project. There are some law firms which treated their paralegals as “professionals” and paid a salary and required overtime with no overtime pay. I don’t remember them as making appreciatively more than I did.

  34. 34
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    Under the terms of the 2004 Executive order if a so-called executive or managerial employee makes $455 a week, approximately $24K a year, their employer does not have to pay them overtime beyond that threshold. The Federal Poverty guideline for a family of four is $23,850.

    The White House has not yet revealed the threshold to be set by Obama’s Executive Order. Former White House economists are said to be lobbying for a threshold of $1K per week. California recently raised its threshold to $640 a week and New York has raised its threshold to $600 a week.

    We Juicers know that the bellowing from the RW would be the same even if Obama’s order raised the threshold to $456 a week so I’m hoping that he does make it $1K or something close to that.

  35. 35
    Poopyman says:

    Well shit.

    Mr. Bernstein, now a senior fellow at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal research group, and Mr. Eisenbrey wrote a paper last year urging the administration to raise the salary threshold for overtime to $984 a week. Their study estimated that in any given week, five million workers earning more than the current threshold of $455 a week and less than $1,000 a week are likely to be exempted from overtime. President Bush raised the threshold to $455 in 2004.

    So if you make over $52,00/year and you’re working 60 hour weeks on salary, your still SOL.

  36. 36
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @Napoleon: Reading comprehension is fundamental.

  37. 37
    Poopyman says:

    @Poopyman: Gah! Can’t edit, but I meant “you’re stil SOL”.

    I HATE when I do that!

  38. 38
    Ash Can says:

    @Yatsuno: I feel for people who are really and truly stuck in situations like that. If that were my (minor) kid, I’d be on the phone to the grocery store manager demanding explanations, and making it very clear that I’d be letting the other parents in the community know how the store treats its schoolkid employees, and pointing out the fact that there are numerous other grocery stores in the area where we’d all be doing our shopping in the future. But I’m fortunate to be able to do that. If the kid (and possibly his/her family as well) really needs the job, and there are no other employers (let alone shopping alternatives) around, lowering the boom on the store manager isn’t an option.

  39. 39
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @beth:

    What kind of person does that?

    Heroic job-creatin’ entrepreneurs, dammit! All your daughter has to do is open her own grocery store if she doesn’t appreciate her current employer.

    /Typical American Businessman

  40. 40
    Commenting at Balloon Juice since 1937 says:

    I wonder what took him so long to issue this.

  41. 41
    boatboy_srq says:

    @beth: I keep entertaining my colleagues (in VA) with stories of former employers (in FL) who: a) set paid vacation at 5 days a year for everybody, and closed between Christmas and New Year’s – unpaid (result: take your holiday at Christmas, come in to work over the closure, or lose a week’s pay); b) determined employee’s performance on how “happy” they were (if you didn’t behave in the office as if you were constantly on antidepressants you got counseled or let go); c) paid by the billable hour rather than the worked hour (so a quiet week meant a half-week’s pay); d) steered employees to the private health insurance market because they’d made such a bad deal on the company plan that the individual market offered better coverage at better prices; etc etc. They’re generally appalled – but they go on defending RTW as if that had nothing to do with it.

  42. 42

    @Commenting at Balloon Juice since 1937:
    I’m thinking that being president after George Bush is a case of ‘There’s so much shit to clean up, I can’t keep track of it all.’

  43. 43
    elmo says:

    @beth:

    Worst job I ever had was at a Burger King when I was 18, working 4 pm to close. The store closed at midnight. This was in California, so anything over 8 hours should be paid at OT. So the manager required everyone to clock out at the stroke of midnight, but she also forbade anyone to start “closing” activities, like cleaning and packing up, until the doors locked at 12. It routinely took three hours to finish all the closing stuff, so I was working close to 12 hours per day. I also worked 6 days a week.

    In three weeks of working there, I lost 20 pounds. I was so stressed out that one day, when I was scanning the classifieds, my brother came by and said “What are you doing? I thought you had a job,” and I burst into tears. He was so alarmed he told my mother, who ordered me to quit that day with no notice.

    There are some employers, like my current company, that the DOL is vigilant about. Government contractors get a lot of DOL scrutiny. I don’t know why the real offenders, the small retail and fast food outfits, don’t get the same level of attention.

  44. 44
    PurpleGirl says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: One change — “borrow $20,000 from her parents” and open her own grocery store.

    /sarcasm

  45. 45
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @PurpleGirl:
    More like borrow a few million from her parents and open her own grocery store. I’m still astonished when some RW gasbag suggests opening one’s own business as a way out out of unemployment-caused poverty.

    Let’s say that Beth’s daughter does somehow raise enough money to open a small mom and pop-type grocery store in an under served part of her neck of the woods. Let’s say that the store is so wildly successful that she’s able to expand it into a full-on supermarket. Like as not Wal Mart will then open up across the street and put her out of business.

    The odds against an inexperienced person with little capital opening a small business and making a go of it are about the same as the odds against some kid’s garage band becoming the next Black Eyed Peas.

  46. 46
    evolved beyond the fist mistermix says:

    @Bobby Thomson: That’s because Drum wrote a whole separate piece addressing critics of his earlier piece. You might disagree with him but he sure didn’t ignore the criticism and he responded. That’s why I keep going back to Drum. I disagree with him sometimes but he’s honest.

  47. 47
    Linnaeus says:

    No need to worry, folks. The Market(tm) fixes everything.

  48. 48
    kc says:

    @beth:

    Pretty sure they have to pay her for the 45 minutes. Sounds like a good class action lawsuit waiting to happen.

  49. 49
    Mike in NC says:

    Some wingnuts will still try to argue that if employers could pay their people 35 cents per hour, we’d have full employment in this country.

  50. 50
    Phantom 309 says:

    @Mike in NC: And not much of an economy.

  51. 51
    catclub says:

    @c u n d gulag: What about where he says “If a man demand you carry his bag one mile, carry it two”.
    paraphrased.

    The recent sermon I heard on that mentioned that the Roman soldier can demand one mile, but if he demands two then HE is in danger of being sanctioned for abuse of privilege. So the advice by Jesus was not as generous as it appears on first look.

  52. 52
    catclub says:

    @elmo: “There are some employers, like my current company, that the DOL is vigilant about. Government contractors get a lot of DOL scrutiny. I don’t know why the real offenders, the small retail and fast food outfits, don’t get the same level of attention.”

    There was an NPR item on a DA from Missoula, MT suing the DOJ to stop making an example of him.
    It is the implicit (if not explicit) policy of the DOJ to go after cases just to make an example and get everybdy else to pay attention.

  53. 53
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @beth:

    I really am exasperated at stories like this.

    Perhaps a few public beheadings of management types will set the proper tone by example for others.

  54. 54
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Schlemizel:

    This sort of thing happens in the Army, as well. It’s called “beating the Army mule to death”…you start relying on your best soldiers to get shit done, and you burn them out, and many wind up not reenlisting. I had a young troop who was my driver who was absolutely primo NCO material, and I tried very hard to do two things with him: not overwork him to burn him out, and also to encourage him to assert his natural leadership skills. Alas, he decided not to reenlist for his own reasons.

    Still, he was the best driver I ever had, I think. The guy enjoyed being my driver because as the unit signal officer, I had to visit mountaintops and other out of the way places where radio relay stations were set up and so forth, and he loved to drive on “goat trails” and take the HMMWV through big puddles.

  55. 55
    low-tech cyclist says:

    this executive order just reverses one that Bush signed in 2004.

    What I’m trying to figure out is, why it took Obama 5 years to reverse this particular executive order?

    Kevin Drum’s been going on about why working-class whites have a hard time telling that the Dems are on their side, and this certainly qualifies as a data point.

  56. 56
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @low-tech cyclist: Easy does it, there. Nappy’s going to come along soon to tell you that’s not what Drum was saying. Drum’s wrong, by the way.

    Even when Democrats do something that clearly helps the working class, it doesn’t count because they should have done it sooner. Or something.

  57. 57
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @evolved beyond the fist mistermix: Honest is not the word I would use. There’s a reason conservative bloggers love him.

    Anyway, I wasn’t accusing him of failing to respond to teh LGM piece (I didn’t even realize it had been written or that Drum had responded – just as unpersuasively – when I posted my comment). I was accusing him of using the facts to bolster his own pet both-sides-do-it narrative. Which is true.

  58. 58
    NorthLeft12 says:

    As a professional engineer at a Chemical plant I routinely put in extra hours during upsets in my particular unit or during the maintenance shutdowns. For years we were not paid any extra for those additional hours [which would add up to overtime of over thirty hours a week] which occurred roughly twice a year. People started voting with their feet and the company began to recognize the effort people were putting in and started to pay for that time at straight time rates. We were bought out about five years ago and the new owner soon paid the professionals at overtime rates [double time here].
    Part of the old owner’s justification was that we had a bonus system to reward us for those extra hours. Although since all of us did it, and the bonus system was to recognize outstanding achievement, we really received nothing for that overtime. Our managers and higher ups got the real bonuses.
    BTW our new owners are the royal family of a middle eastern country. Our old owners were shareholders. Yes, a publicly traded company.

  59. 59
    NorthLeft12 says:

    As a professional engineer at a Chemical plant I routinely put in extra hours during upsets in my particular unit or during the maintenance shutdowns. For years we were not paid any extra for those additional hours [which would add up to overtime of over thirty hours a week] which occurred roughly twice a year. People started voting with their feet and the company began to recognize the effort people were putting in and started to pay for that time at straight time rates. We were bought out about five years ago and the new owner soon paid the professionals at overtime rates [double time here].
    Part of the old owner’s justification was that we had a bonus system to reward us for those extra hours. Although since all of us did it, and the bonus system was to recognize outstanding achievement, we really received nothing for that overtime. Our managers and higher ups got the real bonuses.
    BTW our new owners are the royal family of a middle eastern country. Our old owners were shareholders. Yes, a publicly traded company.

  60. 60
    mclaren says:

    Seconded. This is a big deal, and it’s a good example of how the president of the united states can effect real significant change merely by signing an executive order.

    Congress is important — but don’t underestimate the powers of the executive branch. Congress holds the purse strings, true, and congress passes the laws. Yet both of those powers depend on the exact way in which the executive branch administers and executes those laws. There’s a lot of wiggle room for the executive branch. A whole lot. If the president is bound and determined not to implement a law passed by congress, the president can set things up in the agency that administers that law in such a way that very little gets done. Contrariwise, if congress refuses to fund some policy that the president considers vital, the president can use sequestration of funds from one agency to fund the activities he wants in another agency. This latter is basically an accounting gimmick, but it works. Save X hundred million dollars by making agency A more efficient, then spend those X hundred million dollars to fund agency B that congress declined to properly fund.

    Presidents from Nixon on have regularly done this. It’s a gray area, but entirely legal.

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