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If H.R. 1406 is Worker Friendly, why are all its Lobbyists paid off by Big Business?

In the Washington Post, Diana Reese wonders whether H.R. 1406, the “Working Families Flexibility Act,” might not really be for the benefit of working families. Some hints that Ms. Reese might be right:

  • Every one of the 169 members of Congress who signed up as as a sponsor or cosponsor is a Republican.
  • When it received a roll call vote on May 8 2013 in the House of Representatives, 220 out of the 231 House Republicans voted for it while only 3 out of the 201 House Democrats voted for it. Those three Democrats — Henry Cuellar, Jim Matheson, and Colin Peterson — are such conservative Democrats that they actually have negative liberal scores in our online rankings for the 113th Congress.
  • The legislation (read it here) allows employers assign extra work, stop paying overtime to workers and to give them “comp time” instead whenever the employer decides they need to. But workers can’t take off that “comp time” when it fits their needs — they can only take off that “comp time” when employers don’t need them on the job anyway.
  • The legislation tasks the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor with the task of checking in to make sure that workers aren’t being abused by employers who exploit the law. But the Wage and Hour Division is still struggling to get a budget as large as it had in 2001. In Florida, there is one employee processing abuse claims in the Wage and Hour Division for every 1.2 million workers. The division has a huge backlog and is not able to keep up with or check all current complaints, not to mention any new complaints created by this law.
  • Every single one of the lobbyists hired to convince members of Congress to vote for H.R. 1406 in the first quarter of 2013…
    1. Laura Abshire
    2. Angelo Amador
    3. Ben Brubeck
    4. Geoff Burr
    5. Scott DeFife
    6. Liam Donovan
    7. John Fitch
    8. Brooke Frankenfield
    9. Liz Garner
    10. Ryan Kearney
    11. Dave Koenig
    12. Karen Livingston
    13. Joan McGlockton
    14. Alexis Moch
    15. Michelle Neblett
    16. Christine Layman
    17. Jay Perron
    18. Dan Roehl
    19. Drew Schneider
    20. Kristen Swearingen
    21. Judith Thorman
    22. Sean Thurman
    23. Josh Ulman
    24. Matt Walker
    25. Lauren Williams
    26. Lesley Witter

    …is being paid by one of seven employers’ interests groups to do so.

2 comments to If H.R. 1406 is Worker Friendly, why are all its Lobbyists paid off by Big Business?

  • Bill

    I just love the euphemisms Congress always uses to hide the true intent of bills. Anything you need to know about a bill you can determine by merely recasting the bill’s name as its logical opposite. In this case, that would be the “Screw The Working Class” bill. This name game is almost more insulting than the shenanigans it is meant to hide. “Hey, let’s call it The Rainbows And Unicorns Bill…the rubes are suckers for rainbows and unicorns!”

    • In this case, if you squint your eyes and hold your nose, the “Working Families Flexibility Act” makes sense, since it insists that Working Families become Flexible to meet the whims and reduced-pay preferences of corporate America.

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