Corporate class sues to deny four million workers overtime pay
Trumpite Judge Sean Jordan who is moving to cut 4 million plus workers from overtime protection. | Wikipedia (CC)

SHERMAN, Texas—The corporate class, led by the Chamber of Commerce, wants to deny at least four million workers overtime pay. And of course, they’re suing to stop the pay by going to a federal district court in deep-red rural Sherman, Texas.

It’s called judge-shopping, and rural Texas is a fertile judicial field for corporate crooks. It’s one of the many red-state courts where former Republican President Donald Trump stacked the benches with right-wing ideologues, including this judge, Sean Jordan.

Led by the Plano, Texas, Chamber of Commerce, acting for the parent organization, a batch of corporate lobbies—including one deeply embedded in the radical right and another which is a Walmart front—demand Judge Jordan halt the Biden administration’s overtime pay rule.

Biden’s DOL implemented the rule, to raise the threshold under which overtime pay is mandatory to $43,888 on July 1 and $58,656 next January 1. It would be indexed to inflation afterwards. The corporate class claims those automatic hikes are illegal without mandated notices and hearings.

Raising the threshold would benefit at least four million workers, most of them workers of color, the Labor Department said when it announced the increase.

But the corporate lobbies, including the anti-union anti-worker Associated Builders and Contractors, the radical right National Federation of Independent Business and the National Retail Federation, a Walmart front, claim—without proof—that Biden’s DOL didn’t and won’t follow proper federal notice rules.

It also calls Biden’s rule “arbitrary and capricious” because the overtime pay cap would count only 10% of “nondiscretionary bonuses, incentives, and commissions, profit-sharing,” stock options and deferred retirement benefits.

Counting all of that non-wage income means a Starbucks barista who receives a stock option, a bonus or planned deferred retirement pay from the notoriously stingy and anti-union coffee chain could find herself excluded from overtime pay.

The lobbies and their attorney, from the Dallas office of the notorious nationwide union-buster Littler Mendelson, want Judge Jordan to issue a permanent national injunction to kill Biden’s overtime pay numbers and roll the cap back to the 2020 Trump limit, $35,000.

Otherwise, the lobbies say, Biden’s overtime pay rule would raise the overtime pay threshold from its current 20% of median pay to 35%, and cost their corporate members an estimated $3.4 billion.

This is not the first time the lobbies have come to this particular court to block an overtime pay rule. In another instance of judicial district-shopping, the other federal judge in Sherman, Amos Mazzant, tossed out the Obama administration’s DOL’s try at raising the overtime cap, to $47,000, in 2017.

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Press Associates
Press Associates

Press Associates Inc. (PAI), is a union news service in Washington D.C. Mark Gruenberg is the editor.