The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938, 29 U.S.C. § 203, is a U.S. labor law that created the right to a minimum wage, “time-and-a-half” overtime pay when people work over 40 hours per week, and also prohibits employment of minors in “oppressive child labor.”
It has also been a thorn in the side of several industries. It created the “tip system,” keeping waiters and waitresses pay below minimum wage because “tips” are counted as part of their wages, not as charitable gifts (which they could be if you check the tax code).
Certain white-collar jobs are exempted as well, if the wage earner makes $1 more than the $684 minimum wage limit to be guaranteed overtime pay. And let’s not forget the focus of the article, truck drivers.
No one thought about the port wait times back in the 1930s
The Guaranteeing Overtime for Truckers Act, better known as the GOT Act, would remove Section 13 (b)(1) of the FLSA, making anyone under the regulatory oversight of the Secretary of Transportation eligible for overtime pay. That would primarily benefit drayage drivers and other truckers who are paid by piecework and have to sit in lines for hours waiting to complete their hauls.
This is one of the reasons we saw a wave of protests this summer that swept from California to the Mid-Atlantic. Drivers are being asked to work more for the same or less pay, if you factor in inflation.
Many thought the GOT Act was dead in the water when Rep. Andy Levin, the bill’s sponsor in the House of Representatives, lost his re-election bid. On Monday, September 12, Sen. Alex Padilla, D-California, introduced similar legislation. The bill was supported by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut), Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts), Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts.).
For those wanting to review the less-than-one-page bill, you can view it at the following link. BackTheTruckUp and FreightWaves are monitoring the legislation and will continue to report as updates are made available.