Pay Overtime for Overtime Worked

Alyssa Petrella
USW Communications Assistant

A salaried employee at a Dunkin’ Donuts works 75 hours a week without receiving a cent of overtime pay. And that’s the wage-slavery that Congressional Republicans and right-wing business leaders think he should remain trapped in.

For those 75 hours, Gassan Marzuq, a manager for Dunkin’ Donuts, earns slightly more than $23,660. That figure, $23,660, is the federally-set threshold for overtime pay. A worker paid less must receive time and a half for each hour worked over 40. If a business classifies a worker as an executive, professional or administrator and pays him $1 more than $23,660, the corporation can work him 60, 70, even 80 hours a week without any additional compensation at all.  

The threshold, roughly $455 a week, is below the poverty line of a family of four. The federal government allows businesses to deny overtime pay to workers who are classified as executives, professionals or administrators, even those who spend 90 percent of their time frying donuts, if they earn more than the $23,660 threshold.

The Obama administration has proposed raising the threshold to $50,440, which would mean Dunkin’ would have to pay Marzuq $50,440 or give him overtime for each hour worked past 40. The threshold hasn’t been raised in a decade. And before that, it hadn’t been raised in 29 years. It hasn’t kept pace with inflation, and workers are suffering as a result.

But that’s just fine with Congressional Republicans and right-wing business owners. The less they have to pay hard working employees like Marzuq, the more they can stuff in their pockets. This contributes to the grotesque levels of income inequality in this country.

Business owners and their lobbyists, like the National Retail Federation, want to keep workers in their place – the poor house. They oppose lifting the threshold. And they oppose defining the work of employees classified as executives, professionals or administrators.

David French of the National Retail Federation, for example, claims that proposed changes to the supervisory duties test could limit what managers can do and still be denied overtime pay. “Right now, a manager can operate as a manager and supervise, but they can also spend a portion of their day filling in, helping with customers, taking inventory, dealing with supplies,” he said. In other words, they can spend 90 percent of their day frying donuts.

Employers like that flexibility. They can call anybody a supervisor, pay them $1 over the poverty-level threshold, and work them 75 hours a week without paying them an extra cent! What a deal!

And they’ve got Congressional Republicans in their pocket on this.

Imagine that—Republicans favoring policies that benefit the rich!

The Obama administration’s proposed policy changes defining managers and lifting the salary cap are long overdue measures that would benefit struggling donut makers and middle class workers across America.

To support overtime pay for tens of millions of deserving workers, sign this petition or call your U.S. Senators or Congressman today.

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