It shouldn’t be news to anyone that the Obama Administration’s Department of Labor did far more to line the pockets of Big Labor than it did to advance pro-worker and pro-business policies. There’s a lot of work to be done to get America’s employees back on track, which is why I’m encouraged by the Trump Administration taking the first step to kill the egregious Obama-era overtime rule. By filing an extension with the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, they have further delayed implementation of the rule and consideration of the Obama Administration’s appeal.
The overtime rule would more than double the salary threshold under which employees must be paid overtime from $23,000 to $47,000, with the effect of reclassifying an entire category of workers. It would turn entry-level careers into hourly jobs for people entering the workforce, placing an artificial ceiling on upward mobility and professional growth. By forcing employers to limit hours, this regulation would cost employees their valued flexibility in negotiating wage and hour agreements, and would indeed hurt the very low-wage workers that the rule was supposedly intended to help. We should focus on giving America’s workforce the opportunity to succeed and contribute to our nation’s economic growth, not stifling the prospects of success and advancement.
Besides disadvantaging young people entering the workforce, the overtime rule puts a handicap on small business owners. In order to comply with the rule, small businesses like restaurants or mom and pop shops will be forced to reduce workers’ hours and wages. If those employees were not able to continue working for lower pay and fewer hours, small business owners will be forced to seek out new employees with less experience and lower skill levels, leading to a drop in productivity, and potentially, an increase in prices.
The next step is for the Trump Administration to request that the 5th Circuit drop the appeal and work to fully rescind this overreaching regulation. By overturning this harmful rule, we can get to work on restoring the strength of the American workforce and promoting worker freedom – two of President Trump’s prominent campaign promises.
Once the administration overturns the rule, they can focus their efforts on the myriad of other anti-worker, pro-union policies enacted by the Obama Administration and its reckless National Labor Relations Board (NRLB). It’s no secret that the NLRB has worked relentlessly over the past eight years to impose Obama’s liberal agenda, forcibly unionizing workers and restructuring America’s workplace to the detriment of employers, small businesses and worker freedom.
The ambush election rule is a perfect example of the NLRB’s pro-Big Labor policy bias. This rule dramatically shortened the window of time between a union petition and election – eliminating the minimum 25-day period that gave employees and employers time to prepare. With this unnecessary and overreaching regulation, the NLRB essentially granted Big Labor the opportunity to take advantage of workers in their efforts to increase membership rolls hence dues to bosses.
In another blatant attempt to forcibly unionize workers, the NLRB’s micro-union decision allowed unions to organize sub-units of a workplace, as opposed to the workplace as a whole. By cherry-picking those individuals more predisposed to unionize into various subgroups, this decision gave union bosses yet another tool to increase their odds of winning elections and increasing membership.
Despite the efforts of the Obama Administration to promote Big Labor with the aforementioned handouts, the American people are rejecting unions in droves. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, union membership rates in America recently hit an all-time low – at just 10.7 percent. This is happening because our workforce has come to realize that Big Labor is selling an outdated product that few want, or need, and that no longer represent their best interests.
I look forward to more of the Trump Administration’s efforts to roll back the gross federal overreach of the Obama-era, and am pleased to see that President Trump has wasted no time in taking the first step toward checking the power of Big Labor and putting our country back to work. It’s time to stand together in prioritizing the interests of America’s workforce with pro-growth and pro-business policies
Heather Greenaway is a spokesperson for the Workforce Fairness Institute (WFI).