Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., launched an online petition Monday to oppose the
Bush administrations proposal to overhaul the rules on overtime.
The Associated Press reports that Kerry, who is running for president, said
that 8 million workers would lose their overtime compensation if the new rules
go into effect.
"For more than 60 years, the 40-hour work week and overtime pay have protected
workers from exploitation and rewarded hard work," Kerry tells the news agency.
"But under the radar screen, while everyone's attention was focused elsewhere,
George Bush has launched a sneak attack on basic worker rights."
The Labor Departments proposal would revise rules for determining eligibility
for overtime compensation. The Bush administration says the proposed rules would
simplify regulations and make 1.3 million lower-income workers automatically
eligible for the overtime premium when they work over 40 hours. The administration
estimates that about 644,000 white-collar workers could lose overtime pay under
the proposed rules.
Democrats and labor groups say that over 8 million workers would lose their
overtime, citing a study from a liberal think tank.
The department received over 80,000 letters in response to its request for comments on the proposed rules.
Some Senate Democrats have said they would try to block the proposed rules
with legislation even after a similar effort in the House failed to gain enough
support. The rules do not require the approval of Congress.
The news agency notes that Kerry has been trying to court the support of labor
unions, which strongly oppose the new rules, in his campaign for president.