News Releases

Murray Questions Proposed Changes to Overtime Pay Rules

Jul 31 2003

"It is inconceivable to me that, as families struggle in this tough economy, the Bush Administration wants to cut the pay of millions of workers who depend on their overtime to help make ends meet."

(Washington, DC)- Today U.S. Senator Patty Murray questioned Bush Administration officials over proposed changes to overtime pay and union financial reporting. Murray made her comments at a hearing of the Senate's Labor, HHS Appropriations Subcommittee.

Murray's opening statement follows:

"Mr. Chairman, thank you for calling these important hearings today on the proposed regulatory changes the Department of Labor has put forth regarding overtime pay and labor union reporting.

I believe these hearings will provide critical information to the Members of this Committee to help them decide whether the rulemaking process at the United States Department of Labor (USDOL) is driven by fact and reason or by an anti-worker political agenda.

The shoddy rule-making process employed by the US DOL in the development of its draft regulations on overtime pay and labor union reporting leads this Senator to wonder - what's the rush?

Congress has held no hearings, yet the Secretary of Labor -- with a few strokes of her rule-making pen -- is about to adversely affect the quality of life for millions of hard working Americans.

It is inconceivable to me that, as families struggle in this tough economy, the Bush Administration wants to cut the pay of millions of workers who depend on their overtime to help make ends meet.

We know that overtime often makes up 25% of an eligible worker's wages.

Haven't working Americans been punished enough by this President's economic policies? Not only have we seen millions lose their pensions, but we've also seen massive tax cuts for the few while everyone else struggles just to get by. Billion dollar corporate scandals continue to unfold on a regular basis, robbing millions of their economic security in their retirement years.

The answer from this Department of Labor is a rule that will require thousands of small local unions to comply with a new set of costly and unwarranted reporting requirements. These draft rules are more cumbersome than the reporting requirements for public corporations found in the recently enacted Sarbanes-Oxley legislation.

And of course we know that multi-billion dollar privately held corporations do not have any reporting requirements.

Unfortunately, these new labor union reporting rules are unlikely to "weed out corruption." Nor will they help to establish the transparency in labor union reporting the Secretary said was needed when she appeared before this Subcommittee to discuss her FY '04 budget request in April.

Millions of details on thousands of forms will not help assure labor unions are spending their money properly. Independently-certified audits certainly remain a better approach, along with the diligence of the thousands of local, national and international union officials who care deeply about the fiscal integrity of their operations.

Again, I commend and thank the Chairman for calling these hearings. I look forward to working with him as we develop bipartisan approaches to critical policies that affect workers who are struggling to pay their mortgages and feed their families."