Urgent Call to Action: Overtime rule and WANTO funding

(Courtesy of American Association of University Women)

We are reaching out with urgency because the Senate Appropriations Committee is marking up the Labor/HHS Appropriations bill tomorrow and there is the potential for amendments that would attach harmful riders to the underlying bill.

Specifically, there is the potential for an amendment that would undermine the Department of Labor’s new overtime regulations. In addition, as the bill stands now, it includes zero funding for WANTO (the Women in Apprenticeship and Nontraditional Occupations Act).

We are writing to urge you and your organization’s members to call Senators on the Appropriations Committee and tell them to oppose these harmful amendments while preserving funding for key programs that help women.

We urge you to act and call quickly as the appropriations bill will be finalized by the full Appropriations Committee tomorrow morning (Thursday).

Below are talking points for you and your organization to use when calling members of the Senate Appropriations Committee:

We strongly urge your boss to reject amendments that would undermine the Department of Labor’s new overtime regulations.

  • DOL’s new overtime regulations represents a particularly important step toward fairer pay for women and people of color, who are overrepresented in lower-paying jobs and are often required to work additional hours without compensation.
  • Some nonprofit organizations have protested that complying with this rule would be an undue hardship for them. A number of these concerns stem from a misunderstanding of the scope of FLSA coverage and its exemptions for non-profits, which excellent guidance from DOL can help to address.
  • Moreover, the vocal opponents of the rule are not representative of the large community of nonprofits that have embraced this opportunity to restore meaningful overtime protections for millions of lower-paid workers. More than 100 nonprofit organizations have signed a letter in support of DOL’s overtime rule.

For many nonprofits, including those of us that provide human services or advocate for workers’ rights, poverty reduction, or economic and social justice, this is a critical opportunity to improve the working conditions and the economic lives of the people we serve. At the same time, our own workers and the families they support also deserve fair compensation and greater economic security.

  • Similarly, colleges and universities should be leading by example, embracing the call to provide better jobs, wages and work/life balance for their employees as well as their alumni, the most recent of whom are very likely to benefit from this new regulation. DOL has released a helpful guidance document for higher ed institutions, and the Economic Policy Institute has a useful analysis here .

We strongly urge your boss to make sure WANTO is funded in the Labor/HHS Appropriations bill.

  • Women make up only 2.6% of construction workers.
  • Bringing more women into these high-paying jobs increases their and their families’ economic security, reduces occupational segregation, and helps close the gender wage gap.
  • WANTO grantees have succeeded in helping women overcome the many discriminatory barriers to entering apprenticeship and nontraditional occupations. In apprenticeship, for example, WANTO programs raise the percentage of women in their areas to more than double the national average.
  • WANTO must be funded if women are to see any benefit from new apprenticeship funding.
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