President-elect Trump stated during his campaign, “Under a Trump presidency, the American worker will finally have a president who will protect them and fight for them.” Committee on Education and the Workforce Democrats urge him to keep this promise to American workers by making a commitment to preserving critical workplace protections.
The Overtime Rule
Pursuant to a directive from President Obama, on May 23, 2016, the Department of Labor issued final regulations to update the salary threshold under which most full-time salaried workers are automatically eligible for overtime.The final rule would allow most workers who earn under $913 per week – or $47,476 annually – to be automatically eligible for overtime pay. This standard will cover a little over 30 percent of the full-time salaried workforce. The previous standard covered less than 10 percent of the full-time salaried workforce. The rule also automatically updates the salary threshold every three years, based on wage growth over time.
President-elect Trump stated during his campaign, “under a Trump presidency, the American worker will finally have a president who will protect themand fight for them.” Committee on Education and the Workforce Democrats urge him to keep this promise to American workers by making a commitment to preserving critical workplace protections.
The Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order
All too often, federal contractors with histories of serious, willful or repeated violations of our nation’s labor, employment and workplace safety laws continue to be rewarded with federal contracts, or gain a competitive advantage over those who play by the rules. President Obama signed Executive Order 13673 on July 31, 2014 requiring companies seeking federally-funded contracts to disclose labor law violations. Ensuring that federal contractors follow the law is critically important given that an estimated one in five American workers are employed by federal contractors.
An investigation by the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee revealed that in 2012, 49 federal contractors engaging in significant labor law violations received $81 billion in federally-funded contracts. A 2010 GAO study found that, of the 100 companies who received the largest sanctions for violating worker wage, health, and safety laws, 33 percent were awarded federal contracts in 2009. According to the Center for American Progress, companies with the worst compliance records also performed poorly on government contracts. The rules and guidance implementing the Executive Order help ensure that labor law violators that receive federal contracts have a process for coming into compliance with the law..Studies show this approach promotes efficiency and effectiveness in government.
If this Executive Order is dismantled…
Law-abiding companies could be forced into unfair competition with lawbreakers and corner cutters.
Workers would be at greater risk of working on taxpayer-subsidized contracts with repeated labor law violations, unsafe working conditions, and discrimination.
Last night the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee held the confirmation hearing for Betsy DeVos, President-Elect Trump’s nominee to lead the U.S. Department of Education. During the course of the hearing it became clear that DeVos – who has never attended a public school, taught in a classroom, or served on a school board – is woefully unprepared to serve as our nation’s Secretary of Education. In case you missed it, we’ve outlined some of the most troubling things from her confirmation hearing:
On Defunding Public Schools: DeVos would not commit to preserving funding for public education.
On IDEA and the Rights of Students with Disabilities: DeVos asserted that services and legal protections for students with disabilities is a matter that should be left to the states. She also appeared to be unaware that the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a federal law.
On Proficiency and Growth: When asked for her thoughts on using proficiency measures vs. growth measures for the purpose of K-12 assessments, DeVos did not know the difference.
On Protecting Student Borrowers: DeVos could not say whether she would enforce critical protections for students at for-profit colleges – institutions required to prepare students for gainful employment after graduation.
On Sexual Assault and Title IX: When pressed for an answer, DeVos would not commit to upholding the Department of Education’s current guidance on Title IX which helps colleges and universities combat campus sexual assault.
The Secretary of Education must ensure all students have access to safe, diverse, high-quality public schools. Betsy DeVos has actively worked to stack the deck against public schools, teachers, and students by fighting to gut public education funding and even working against proposals to increase accountability and transparency at for-profits schools that put taxpayer dollars into the pockets of corporations. DeVos’ privatization campaign in Michigan has been a failure for the students and their families. Her track record, combined with her testimony at yesterday’s hearing that demonstrated her lack of knowledge of federal education law and the programs within the Department of Education, show how out-of-touch, unqualified and unprepared she is to serve our nation’s students, teachers and families.
Under the Obama Administration, the Department of Labor put rules in place to make the economy fairer for everyone. As a result of these efforts, Americans will be safer and more secure on the job and in retirement. President-elect Trump stated during his campaign, “Under a Trump presidency, the American worker will finally have a president who will protect them and fight for them.” Committee on Education and the Workforce Democrats urge him to keep this promise to American workers by making a commitment to preserving critical workplace protections.
President-elect Trump and House Republicans Have Repeatedly Threatened to Gut Critical Workplace Protections
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy pledged in his first speech before the 115th Congress to “remove harmful regulations and change the structure of Washington, draining the bureaucratic swamp.” House Republicans advanced legislation in January designed to either make it easier to gut regulations or harder to put them in place. The House Freedom Caucus pledged to roll back 16 workplace protections.
Supporting these rules and actions means supporting workers. Before President-elect Trump takes office this week, Democrats urge his administration and the Republicans in Congress to take a close look at the devastating impact that dismantling worker protections would have on American families.
Dr. King is a pivotal figure in American history and was instrumental in the modern Civil Rights Movement. His leadership inspired the nation and sparked activism for the generations that followed. Dr. King devoted his life to the causes of equality and social justice, believing that service to our fellow man would empower individuals and strengthen working families, our communities and our country. We continue that tradition on this MLK Day of Service.
The inherent value of service to our communities was acknowledged and affirmed by Congress and President Obama in April 2009, when the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act was signed into law. This legislation has inspired a new era of service, creating a continuum of service for which Americans of all ages and from every background can lend their experience and skills to uplift our communities and transform the nation. Since its passage, organizations such as the Corporation for National and Community Service’s (CNCS) Americorps program have been able to significantly expand the number of people committed to service for, and in, their communities. Annually, CNCS engages over five million people through Americorps and other core programs. They also take the lead on President Obama’s initiative “United We Serve”— which realized that solving problems in our communities is more than an one-time act and Americans must be intentionally committed to serving our fellow citizens.
Service and volunteerism are fundamental American values demonstrated throughout our history and the MLK Day of Service serves as a cornerstone of this practice. Dr. King realized that when communities come together, they can achieve extraordinary things. As he once said, "Everybody can be great... because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love."
Through community service, Americans can bridge barriers, solve problems, and bring communities together.