203. How to keep a good nation down (or lower)!


When watching the news on our leading companies such as General Motors, Chrysler, ExxonMobil, our Banks, our former steel and other metals industry… I get damn depressed. I was reading Greg Palast’s Armed Madhouse, and it caused me to research our government’s Department of Labor a bit further…

In 2004 the United States Department of Labor decided that businesses were not making enough money. So being led by the nose by the National Council of Chain Restaurants the US. Dept. of Labor came up with a few whiz bang ideas to help out those keeping restaurant labor costs down as well as then reaching out into all sectors that donate money to political campaigns, In the August 2004 a bunch of idiots in the federal labor department they started implemented the following gems that they started creating around Labor Day 2003.

The first thing these brainiacs at DOL came up with was new and different ways that companies can or will not have to pay employees overtime. This came in the form of the following paragraph from page 15576, Volume 68 / Number 61 / Monday March 31, 2003 / The Federal Register. The most notable of these was Item 4. This was the escape clause for all employers.

(1) Adhering to a 40 hour work

week; (2) paying statutory overtime

premiums for affected workers’ hours

worked beyond 40 per week; (3) raising

employees’ salaries to levels required

for exempt status by the proposed rule;

or (4) converting salaried employees’

basis of pay to an hourly rate (no less

than the federal minimum wage) that

results in virtually no (or only a

minimal) changes to the total

compensation paid to those workers.

Employers could also change the duties

of currently exempt and nonexempt

workers to comply with the proposed


OK, here is what they are saying in simple English. They even give an example on page 15577 so even the stupidest Payroll Manager, Corporate Lawyer, and CEO (and we know how bright the latter of these folks are) can understand it.

  1. Standard 40 hours of work to avoid overtime payments

  2. OK pay over time at time and a half or use the formula of paying over minimum wage for a 40 hour work week and just pay half time since the employee is making above minimum wage.

  3. Make everyone a manager and thus exempt. A good example of this is being a shift leader at Burger King. That person can technically be exempt from overtime.

  4. Take salaried employees and convert their normal pay for 40 hours, then reduce the hourly rate to cover the additional hours needed to make them work 45 hours. (of course cannot pay below minimum wage). Example is if you were earning $400 week salary, they just told your employer to convert your pay to $8.89 hour so you can work 45 hours for the same pay as 40.

OK which of the four options was going to be the most popular with employers? OPTION 4!!

In our nation, our workers are earning less while a greater share of revenue is being kept at the corporate offices. Unfortunately our leaders wholly endorse this. I guess it frees up cash for campaign contributions. Oh do you have a complaint about wage and hour disputes with your employer? Forget it as  they can technically tie you to the mast to be flogged, since the Department of Labor says to cut hourly pay to avoid overtime charges.

Also added to the Federal Register is that it is great if your employer gives you unpaid “Comp Time” if you are a salaried worker who works more than your 40 hours in one week. As President George W. Bush said it was so you could spend more time with family.

All of these cost savings were to save businesses over $1,530,000,000.00 (1.53 billion dollars for those that do not like reading big numbers).

One of the craziest things they tried to pull off was that if a Veteran had received the training in the military that earned him or her their civilian job and they use those acquired or trained skills in their current position, that their employer would be able to make them ineligible for overtime pay. Welcome Home Veterans! Well in 2004 they realized that this could not really stand a true test of opinion. b Many of the individual states Bureaus and Departments of Labor just did not let this fly.   States such as Hawaii and West Virginia stated that military training is not equivalent to formal schooling for any certification.

Another idea the Nutty Buddies had is to create a rule that if you have worked in a position for Six (6) years that is the equivalent to having a 4 (four) year college degree and that employee can be made exempt from having to be paid any overtime. The following ruling allows blue collar workers to be classed up to white collar worker and taken off hourly pay and put into salary.

The Department also assumed

that six years or more of work

experience would be considered

equivalent to a bachelor’s degree for the

learned professional exemption.

I guess that also could mean that if I pretend to be a Doctor, Pilot or a Lawyer for 6 years that technically I Will be if I fool the world for those six years and get away with it.

I am wondering , if the training a veteran received after serving six years in the military could be construed as a bachelors degree since the Department of Labor says so?   I guess technically it could be a Bachelors in Military Science.



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