Last week, Washington’s Governor Jay Inslee took executive action via the state Labor Department to enact the country’s most comprehensive set of overtime regulations for workers, which will restore overtime protections for nearly 420,000 middle-class workers in the state. Over the last 40 years, employers have been gradually taking overtime pay away from more and more workers. In the 1970s, 62% of salaried full-time workers nationwide qualified for overtime pay; today, that number is as low as 7%, even though people are working just as much or more. This state-level initiative comes after the Trump administration scaled back the Obama Labor Department’s effort to double the salary level up to which workers could get overtime pay for hours worked above 40 per week. More than 4 million additional workers would have been eligible under the Obama standards, but now only 1.8 million more workers will be eligible for overtime. In The Daily Beast, Michael Tomasky encouraged Democratic presidential candidates and debate moderators to take note. “Will someone, finally, talk about middle-class wages?,” he asked.
District employees of New York City Council members face a wide gender pay gap, the New York Daily News reported. Most lower-level district office staffers, whose salaries are set by individual lawmakers, are women who earn about 92 cents for every dollar their male counterparts take home. Although 48 of the 51 council members are Democrats and 21 consider themselves “progressive,” the pay gap persists. Meanwhile, staffers are organizing a union to address lingering concerns.
E-commerce retailer Fashion Nova has become an Instagram sensation for making affordable yet expensive-looking clothes that allow customers to copycat celebrity outfits. But the New York Times reported that those cute bodysuits are often made by workers in Los Angeles factories that pay as little as $2.77 an hour. The U.S. Department of Labor discovered Fashion Nova clothing being made in dozens of factories that owed $3.8 million in back wages to hundreds of workers. While Fashion Nova said it has taken steps to address DOL’s findings, the brand also deflected blame for how its products are made, noting that it works with hundreds of manufacturers and “is not responsible for how these vendors handle their payrolls.”