BURLINGTON, Vt., Nov. 23 – U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Wednesday criticized a federal court injunction against a new overtime rule that would have made millions of workers eligible for time-and-a-half pay.
“The disastrous district court decision will unfairly harm millions of workers who are working longer hours for lower wages and have gone far too long without a raise. No employer should be allowed to deny overtime pay to Americans, many of whom are working 50 or 60 hours a week by labeling workers earning as little as $24,000-a-year as 'supervisors.' If we are serious about expanding the middle class, we must ensure that workers are paid fairly for all the work they do,” Sander said.
“The Obama administration did the right thing by updating labor rules to make sure that anyone who makes less than $47,476 a year will receive time-and-a-half pay for working overtime. This is not without precedent. Since 1938, 10 different presidents – Democrats and Republicans – have exercised the authority their administrations have to update our nation’s overtime rules,” Sanders added.
A preliminary injunction issued Tuesday blocks a new U.S. Labor Department rule, set to take effect next week, which would have required employers to pay overtime to workers earning less than $47,476 a year. The previous cutoff for workers to qualify for overtime pay, set in 2004, was $23,660.
“Anyone who claims to be a champion of working families should be outraged by the misguided and irresponsible court decision. I urge the Obama administration and President-elect Trump to do everything they can to vigorously defend this rule,” Sanders said. “During this time of Thanksgiving we must fight to make sure that all Americans receive the pay they have earned and deserve.”
Sanders this year led a push in the Senate to extend overtime pay. To read Sanders’ Feb. 29 letter, signed by 23 Senate colleagues, to Labor Secretary Tom Perez, click here.