Partnership to Protect Workplace Opportunity

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The Partnership to Protect Workplace Opportunity (PPWO) is a coalition of major trade associations that began its work in 2014 and was primarily organized in opposition to President Barack Obama's March 2014 proposal to update overtime regulations in the Fair Labor Standards Act.[1] Notable among PPWO's 60 partners are the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Federation of Independent Business, International Franchise Association, National Restaurant Association, and National Association of Manufacturers. Members of the Partnership defend that "employees and employers alike are best served with a system that promotes maximum flexibility in structuring employee hours, career advancement opportunities for employees, and clarity for employers when classifying employees."[1]

Proposed Overtime Rule

In March of 2014, President Obama issued a Presidential Memorandum requiring the U.S. Department of Labor to update the standards for overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act.[2] Obama directed the Department to draft a new rule that would "modernize" overtime pay standards for white collar workers to provide "equal day's pay for equal day's work."[2] The rule created would raise the salary threshold for overtime compensation from $23,660 per year ($455 per week) to $50,440 per year ($970 per week), which is roughly the "40th percentile of weekly earnings for full-time salaried workers."[3] The Department of Labor submitted their proposed rule to the Federal Register for comments in July of 2015 and received about 270,000 comments from the public by the time the comment period closed in early September 2015.[4] The Final Rule became effective December 1, 2016, with "initial increases to the standard salary level (from $455 to $913 per week) and HCE total annual compensation requirement (from $100,000 to $134,004 per year)... effective on that date. Future automatic updates to those thresholds will occur every three years, beginning on January 1, 2020."[5]

According to the president of the National Partnership for Women & Families, Debra L. Ness, the new proposed rule offered well deserved raises that would most prominently affect working women:

"[W]hen the rule is adopted, more than a third of currently exempt women workers and nearly half of currently exempt black and Hispanic women workers will be covered, which could put hundreds of dollars in additional pay in their pockets each week and bolster their economic security. The proposed rule would prevent blatant worker exploitation."[6]

Actions Against Overtime Regulation

Protecting Worker Advancement and Opportunity Act

The PPWO strongly supported the Protection Worker Advancement and Opportunity Act, a bill put forward by Senate and House Republicans on March 17, 2016.[7] The bill sponsored by Representative Tim Walberg (R-Mich), Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn), and Representative John Kline (R-Minn) would effectively stall the Labor Department's efforts to expand overtime compensation. The legislation would have prolonged the period of implementation by requiring the Department of Labor to first do an economic impact assessment and also strike down the Labor Department's annual inflation adjustments that were another part of the proposal.[7] The full PDF of the bill can be found here: Protecting Worker Advancement and Opportunity Act.

PPWO spokeswoman Lisa Horn had this to say about the legislation in a coalition press release dated March 17, 2016:

"We are pleased Senators Alexander and Scott and Representatives Walberg and Kline have recognized the burden that this proposed rule will exact on our country's employers and employees, and we urge Congress to delay the final rule until the Labor Department comprehensively examines its economic impact, as recommended by the Obama Administration's Small Business Administration."[8]

Horn also stated:

"Labor Department's proposal would not only result in an estimated cost of $8.4 billion per year, but will reduce opportunity and flexibility for millions of executive, professional, and administrative employees -- particularly those at the beginning of their career."[9]

Ties to American Legislative Exchange Council and Kochs

The Partnership to Protect Workplace Opportunity contains multiple partners with ties to the corporate bill mill, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). This group includes:[10]

About ALEC
ALEC is a corporate bill mill. It is not just a lobby or a front group; it is much more powerful than that. Through ALEC, corporations hand state legislators their wishlists to benefit their bottom line. Corporations fund almost all of ALEC's operations. They pay for a seat on ALEC task forces where corporate lobbyists and special interest reps vote with elected officials to approve “model” bills. Learn more at the Center for Media and Democracy's ALECexposed.org, and check out breaking news on our PRWatch.org site.

PPWO also contains groups that have connections to Charles and David Koch and the Koch Network, including:[10]

Koch Wiki

Charles Koch is the right-wing billionaire owner of Koch Industries. As one of the richest people in the world, he is a key funder of the right-wing infrastructure, including the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the State Policy Network (SPN). In SourceWatch, key articles on Charles Koch and his late brother David include: Koch Brothers, Americans for Prosperity, Stand Together Chamber of Commerce, Stand Together, Koch Family Foundations, Koch Universities, and I360.

Full List of Partners

As of May 2016:[10]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Partnership to Protect Workplace Opportunity, "About PPWO", organizational website, accessed April 11, 2016.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Wage and Hour Division, "Notice of Proposed Rulemaking: Overtime", U.S. Department of Labor website, accessed April 26, 2016.
  3. Wage and Hour Division, "FACT SHEET: PROPOSED RULEMAKING TO UPDATE THE REGULATIONS DEFINING AND DELIMITING THE EXEMPTIONS FOR “WHITE COLLAR” EMPLOYEES", Department of Labor Website, Accessed April 26, 2016.
  4. Christian Schappel, "DoL quietly drops big news on new overtime rules", HR Morning, November 13, 2015.
  5. U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division, Final Rule: Overtime, federal governmental website, accessed June 20, 2017.
  6. National Partnership for Women & Families, "‘It’s About Time’ New Overtime Rule Would Mean Greater Economic Security for Millions of Women, Workers and Families", organization website, Accessed April 26, 2016.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Tim Devaney, "GOP bill seeks to roll back Obama overtime rule", The Hill, March 17, 2015.
  8. Partnership to Protecting Workplace Opportunity, "Public and Private Sectors Unite in Support of Legislation to Halt Proposed Department of Labor Rule on Overtime", organization press release, March 17, 2016.
  9. Kent Hoover, "Business groups urge Congress to block overtime rule", The Business Journals, April 18, 2016.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Partnership to Protect Workplace Opportunity, About PPWO, coalition website, accessed May 2016.
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