Whitmer to Trump administration: Hands off overtime regulations

    Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speaks at the 31st Annual Crime Victims’ Vigil, April 17, 2019 | Susan J. Demas

    Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer penned a letter to the U.S. Department of Labor last week opposing a proposed change to overtime wage rules, saying it would “hurt efforts to protect Michigan’s middle-class workers.”

    “These changes to the overtime rule are far too weak to provide Michigan’s workers with the overtime pay protections that they need and deserve,” Whitmer said in a statement Monday. “This hurts Michigan’s working families and fails to ensure that working people who work long hours away from their families for their jobs are paid fairly for their time.”

    The proposed change by President Trump administration would decrease the salary threshold at which American workers are no longer entitled to mandatory overtime pay, rolling back a proposed plan left over from the former President Obama administration that would have doubled it.

    If the Trump administration rule is enacted, almost 3 million workers will be ineligible for overtime who otherwise would have qualified.

    Whitmer’s letter says that 192,000 of those workers reside in Michigan, adding that as a result of previous Trump administration overtime policies, “Michigan workers have lost more than $56 million in overtime pay.”

    Labor groups and progressive activists spoke out in support of Whitmer’s letter Monday, with Ron Bieber, president of the Michigan AFL-CIO, saying in a statement that “the rules proposed by the current administration in Washington leaves out too many people and hurts working families who are just trying to make ends meet.”

    Joshua Pugh, Michigan communications director for the progressive organizing political action committee For Our Future, said, “It’s time for the White House and corporations to step up and make sure workers get paid for the time they have put in on the job.”

    In 2016, Republican former Attorney General Bill Schuette joined a lawsuit with a number of other conservative attorneys general opposing the Obama administration’s original rule.

    The proposed rule is currently under review by the White House Office of Management and Budget.

    Derek Robertson
    Derek Robertson is a former reporter for the Advance. Previously, he wrote for Politico Magazine in Washington. He is a Genesee County native and graduate of both Wayne State University, where he studied history, and the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

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