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Thursday, July 24, 2003

Gephardt misses overtime vote
If you have or ever had an hourly job at a store, restaurant or factory or wherever, you know that you get paid time-and-a-half for working over forty hours a week. Well, the House just voted 213-210 to remove that requirement. If that vote becomes law (needs a Senate vote and W's signature), employers will be able to reward overtime with just "comp time," which is just time off later on. Many hourly workers rely on overtime pay to be able to pay the rent and feed their families. That would no longer be an option.

So, while this major screw-the-worker bill was being passed by the House, Rep. Dick Gephardt was speaking to union members in Iowa, telling them how much he'd do for workers if he was president. The other House member running for president, Dennis Kucinich, was present for the vote and was one of the 210 who voted against it.

I hope this gets the attention it deserves, since Gephardt appears to be Kucinich's main obstacle to getting union endorsements. While Gephardt was talking about worker rights, Kucinich was voting to protect them. And with a vote that close, I don't think Gephardt can claim that he knew the outcome beforehand so his vote wasn't needed. Read more about Kucinich's positions on workers' rights here.