During his last State of the Union Address, President Obama declared that “America needs a raise.” Yesterday, he acted on those words. The president announced that salaried employees (5 million Americans) making as much as $50,400 would be eligible for overtime. As Laura Clawson of Daily Kos puts it, employers will no longer be able to use exempt status (salaried employees) to keep from paying overtime. This move by the Obama Administration (if it’s not overturned by a court challenge) will either give employees more money or more time off. The 40 hour week will again become meaningful to millions of Americans. It’s a good day for working people.
P.S. President Obama is featured in The Huffington Post on his overtime reform. The president express great confidence that he is doing the right thing for American workers: "That's how America should do business. In this country, a hard day's work deserves a fair day's pay. That's at the heart of what it means to be middle class in America." I agree, but would add that what the president is doing will also help the working class and the working poor, who are often victims of wage theft. We all deserve a fair day's pay.
I'm spending a few days in Philadelphia, the city that gave us one of America's working heroes, Benjamin Franklin. As a teen, Franklin was apprenticed to his brother and learned the craft of printing. He later published his own writing and became famous for it. He also won fame as a politician and scientist. He valued work and never lost his sense of curiosity. For me, he is the most amazing citizen our country has ever produced.
Earlier tonight I saw a cool sculpture of Franklin at his printing press. Here are two photos. Click on the image to enlarge the photo.