Today, the Bush administration is formally introducing new rules that
millions of people ineligible for overtime protection when they work
more than 40 hours per week.
This change has been in the works for months, and thousands of MoveOn
members have called on Congress to oppose the new rules. Congress has
responded -- bipartisan majorities in both houses have voted against
rolling back overtime.
Bush is feeling the heat, but his corporate-CEO backers are determined
to fatten their profits by shortchanging working people, so the White
House is pushing ahead with the new rules, accompanied by an aggressive
spin campaign. Already, stories in the AP  and the Washington Post
 have suggested that Bush had a last-minute change of heart, and
acted to extend overtime protections to more people, rather than gutting
Don't be fooled.
The rules introduced today would in fact take away overtime pay from
workers earning as little as $23,660.- a year. This would be a huge pay
cut for potentially millions of working Americans and their families.
It's urgent that we get the real story out. Can you help, by sending a
letter to the editor of your newspaper today? Writing a letter takes
only a few minutes, and we've made it easy with tips and talking points,
Please take a few minutes to send a letter to your editor today.
Thank you, for all you do.
- Peter Schurman
Tuesday, April 20, 2004
RESOURCES FOR LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
I. Tips on how to get your letter published:
- Your own words, written from the heart, are always best.
- Brevity is the soul of wit.
- The key to publication is to pounce on something specific you've
seen in the newspaper -- an article like the AP's, falling for the
Bush spin, is perfect.
- Be sure to include your name and address, and especially your phone
number when submitting your letter. Editors need to call you to
verify authorship before they can print your letter. They don't
print your phone number.
- Your newspaper's letters page should give you an email address or
fax number to use, or you can try this website:
- Please let us know when you've sent your letter by going to:
II. Talking points.
The media have it wrong -- Bush is cutting overtime pay
The Bush Administration has said that only workers earning less than
$23,660 a year would be guaranteed the right to overtime pay. Everybody
earning more than that amount could be caught up in several other
changes to eligibility rules that take away overtime pay. For nine months,
the Administration has been fighting tooth and nail to kill legislation
approved by both houses of Congress that would do nothing more than
prohibit overtime cuts. The Senate and House already voted once last year
to prohibit overtime cuts, but the White House strong-armed Congress to
prevent that overtime protection from becoming law.
The Bush Administration has been loudly exaggerating the benefits of a
helpful but woefully inadequate change that would expand overtime
coverage for some workers. This group is extremely small because most
workers who might be helped don't need the help. They are already guaranteed
overtime pay through other criteria, based on their job
Overtime cuts kill jobs
The Bush overtime cuts will hurt the economy. By taking away workers’
overtime rights, President Bush is discouraging job creation. He is
encouraging businesses to overwork their existing staff (for no extra
pay) rather than hire new workers. The overtime statute was originally
intended to encourage job creation.
Overtime cuts are pay cuts
The new Bush overtime regulation is a pay cut for American workers.
When workers are stripped of their overtime rights, their employers can
now force them to work overtime for no extra pay. Overtime pay makes up
one-fourth of the weekly earnings of workers who earn overtime, an
average of $161 per week.
Bush has a credibility gap on overtime.
Over the past year, Administration officials have repeatedly
misrepresented their proposal and its effects on workers. The Department of
Labor (DOL) routinely claimed that only 644,000 people would lose overtime
protection, when its own economic analysis concluded that an additional
1.5 to 2.7 million people would be affected. We also know that DOL
inflated the number of low-income workers who would benefit, and in fact
DOL admits it has no way of knowing how many would benefit, if any.
Here are two early articles that fall for the Bush administration's
 Associated Press
 Washington Post
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