Two federal district judges in Texas handed down separate decisions in the last week that will increase income inequality and put a thumb on the scale for corporations seeking to tamp down on unionization.
The latest decision came yesterday, when U.S. Judge Amos Mazzant blocked an Obama administration rule to extend mandatory overtime pay to more than 4 million salaried workers from taking effect, jeopardizing one of the outgoing president's signature achievements for boosting wages. The rule was set to go into effect Dec. 1.
Previously, U.S. Judge Sam Cummings permanently blocked an Obama administration rule ordering “persuaders,” or union-busters, to disclose how much they spend and who they’re spending it for. The decision expanded on a temporary injunction the judge issued in June when he sided with pro-business interest groups.
The Teamsters are strong supporters of both rules, noting they would help level the playing field for everyday Americans and unions in the workplace. Neither were radical ideas, just common sense proposals that would have helped workers.
The overtime pay rule would have stopped employers from shielding themselves from having to pay overtime to workers merely by deeming them “professional” staff. It would have required workers making less than $47,500 to be eligible for OT, more than double the threshold now.
Meanwhile, the persuader rule would have shined a spotlight on companies who employ third-party actors to intimidate workers in an effort to halt union organizing efforts. The rule doesn’t limit First Amendment rights, only harassment.
These are not headline-grabbing issues for most people. But they are essential to the well-being of millions of workers in this country. At a time when too many hard-working Americans are toiling more and more hours just to make ends meet, more money (as well as increased fairness on the job) is essential to supporting one’s family.
These decisions make that more difficult now.
- Press Associates, Inc., contributed to this report.