As a result of our ongoing interactions with the US Department of Labor on the issue of unpaid overtime for eligible “NE” members the URA was invited to send representatives to a round table on overtime “exempt” employees held by Deputy Director of Wage and Hour enforcement, Laura Fortman.
Carmen Valverde was one of the URA participants in the Employee Roundtable.
Our participation in the meeting with the Department of Labor was a unique and very interesting experience. I became aware of people working in other professions that are also abused by employers requiring them to work hours for which they are not paid. It reminded me of the horrible working conditions at the beginning of the 20th century. People were over-worked, under-paid, and considered expendable. The employers’ attitudes were, “If you don’t like it, there are 100 people out there waiting to take your job!
I am happy that President Obama saw this issue as something that needed his attention and is taking action. I was very impressed by the representatives from the Department of Labor. They seemed to be VERY interested in hearing our stories and gaining an understanding of our situation. They asked relevant questions, listened attentively, and recorded the meeting so they would have a permanent record of what people said.
This experience and opportunity to be heard by US government officials made me glad that I supported the formation of the URA-AFT. It was worth the effort. This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be heard by people who could actually DO something to correct the abusive situation. Time will tell, if labor reforms are activated.
URA members who are overtime-exempt “NL” and want to provide input to the US Department of Labor on the real-life impact of exemption from overtime protection can contact. URA President Lucye Millerand: firstname.lastname@example.org.