Sanders, Senate Leaders Fight to Extend Overtime Pay to Millions of American Workers

WASHINGTON, Feb. 29 - Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt), along with 23 Democratic senators, led the charge to extend overtime pay to millions of Americans who are working long hours without fair pay.

Last year, the Department of Labor proposed an expansion to overtime pay protections that could benefit five million Americans, including 10,000 Vermonters. The proposal, which you can read about here, would bring overtime pay to salaried workers making up to approximately $50,440. Currently, workers making only $23,660 or less qualify for overtime, and that threshold hasn’t been meaningfully updated since the 1970s. 

In a letter to Labor Secretary Tom Perez sent Monday, the senators called on the agency to move quickly to finalize the overtime pay proposal, adding that while the cost of education, childcare, and retirement have risen, wages have remained virtually unchanged.

“As our economy continues to recover from the Great Recession, we, as a country, need to work on ways to help our economy grow from the middle out, not the top down,” wrote the senators. “But today, despite longer working hours and higher productivity, workers' wages have remained virtually unchanged. Millions of people are working harder than ever without basic overtime protections. We applaud the Department of Labor's move to update the overtime pay threshold, and we are writing to request that you quickly finalize the rule to ensure millions of workers are paid fairly for the hours they work.”

The letter was also signed by Sens. Al Franken (D-Minn.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Martin Heinrich (D-N. Mex.), Tom Udall (D-N. Mex.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.)  

You can read a copy of the letter by clicking here .