GOP Marks International Labor Day by Pushing Death of Mandatory Overtime Pay

(Photo: Pixabay; Edited: LW / TO)(Photo: Pixabay; Edited: LW / TO)

Republicans in Congress spent International Workers’ Day advancing legislation that could end mandatory overtime pay in the United States.

The House Rules Committee on Monday set the parameters for considering the bill, in motions passed on party-line votes. Full deliberation on the proposal should begin on Tuesday, according to Republican leaders.

The proposal would allow employers to offer 1.5 hours of paid time off, for every hour worked over the 40-hour overtime threshold. Current rules, under the Fair Labor Standards Act, force managers to pay employees time-and-a-half, for overtime.

“The legislation provides no guarantee…that workers can take the time off when they actually need it,” House Democrats pointed out last week, in opposition.

They also said the change would allow bosses to force employees into longer work weeks, making it “legal for employers to deny workers their overtime pay.”

Although it isn’t officially recognized in the US, Monday was the internationally celebrated Labor Day. May Day was first established over a century ago to honor the “Haymarket Martyrs”–four anarchists in Chicago who were executed in the 1880’s for the murder of seven police officers, and another who hanged himself in prison awaiting his death sentence.

All five were posthumously exonerated in 1893 by Gov. John Peter Atgeld, citing a lack of evidence of their culpability. Altgeld’s order also pardoned two other anarchists who were on death row.

Some Democratic lawmakers participated in demonstrations on Monday to protest President Trump’s policies toward immigrant workers.

“While Donald Trump made new unhinged comments and threats, we spoke out for the rights of immigrants and workers,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) tweeted on Tuesday.