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Resolutions & Amendments

30th International Convention - Las Vegas, NV (1992)

New Challenges Related to the Fair Labor Standards Act

Resolution No. 23
30th International Convention
June 15-19, 1992
Las Vegas, NV


Equity and fairness were finally achieved when coverage of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) was extended to public sector workers, the only major group of employees previously excluded from such protections, when the Act was amended in 1985; and


The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently issued rule changes that discriminated against public sector workers by singling them out and diminishing their rights. The "on a salary basis" test, one of several tests DOL uses to determine whether employees are exempt from the minimum wage and overtime provisions of the FLSA, although still applicable, has been altered only for public sector workers. Not only is the discrimination itself disturbing, but the fact that DOL consulted with only representatives of the public employers before issuing the rule changes suggests that DOL's intentions are questionable with respect to future protection of state and local workers; and


In January 1992, the FLSA enforcement rights of New Mexico State workers were diminished when a federal district court judge ruled that, these employees could not bring an FLSA lawsuit against the state in federal court. According to the judge, Congress did not expressly permit such a filing when the Act was amended to include coverage for state and local workers. The judge sent the case to state court where a decision will be made as to whether the state can be sued in state court for a FLSA violation; and


DOL has recently affirmed that it is considering (and continues to consider) a variety of possible changes to the regulations governing the executive, administrative, and professional exemptions, including the particular requirement in the public sector that such employees be paid "on a salary basis."


That AFSCME will continue to actively fight against any further attempts to diminish public employee rights to the minimum wage and overtime protections guaranteed in the FLSA.


Leo Spilker, Acting President
Susan Raby, Secretary
AFSCME Local 782, Council 28