For Immediate Release Contact: Dale Cox, 801-971-5568
Statement by the Utah AFL-CIO:
Utah Working Families Denounce Matheson’s Support of H.R. 1406
Misnamed "Working Families Flexibility Act" offers only an empty, unenforceable promise of workplace ‘flexibility’ for employees
(May 14—Salt Lake City, Utah) On the surface, H.R. 1406—misleadingly named the “Working Families Flexibility Act”—seems like positive legislation, but the AFL-CIO has been consistently vocal about how this bill is actually harmful to workers. The congressional leaders who voted to pass this bill last week, including Rep. Jim Matheson, are woefully misguided in their support.
At its core, this bill undermines the 40 hour work week standard that was set by the Fair Labor Standards Act by allowing employers to offer comp time instead of paying employees time and a half for hours worked overtime. In effect, it is cheaper for employers to make their employees work longer hours. And even though workers would be earning comp time for the extra hours worked, almost everything regarding the employee’s use of that comp time is still determined by the employer. The only real flexibility in this bill is the flexibility for corporations to find ways to overwork their employees and pocket the extra profits.
Requiring employers to pay overtime is an incentive for businesses to hire more workers so that work hours are standard and overtime costs don’t rack up. It is disappointing that elected leaders like Matheson would support legislation that effectively discourages companies from hiring more workers and makes life harder for working families in the form of unpredictable work schedules, reduced pay, and reduced time together.
Working families came out to support Matheson in last year’s election when he needed them, and they expected him to advocate in their best interest in return. If Matheson continues to prove that he can’t vote on the right side of middle class bread and butter issues, middle class voters will take notice.