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U.S.PIRG is a public interest group that stands up to powerful special interests on behalf of the American public, working to win concrete results for our health and our well-being. We have a long history of accomplishments that protect consumers, public health, the environment, and our democracy. Our positions and statements generally aren't about us as an organization, rather about how we are working to further the public interest on a particular issue.
That said, today we’re commenting on a DOL rule that would directly and adversely effect us, and others like us. Clearly this issue also has an impact on broader public interest issues, because it will handicap cause-oriented nonprofits and in so doing will strengthen the lobbying and advocacy of special interests.
Statement of U.S. PIRG Executive Director Andre Delattre Regarding the Department of Labor Rule on Overtime:
"U.S. PIRG previously submitted comments expressing our concern that the DOL overtime rule as proposed would have significant negative consequences for non-profit, cause-oriented organizations like ours. The final rule does nothing to address those concerns.
Doubling the minimum salary to $47,476 is especially unrealistic for non-profit, cause-oriented organizations. Organizations like ours rely on small donations from individuals to pay the bills. We can’t expect those individuals to double the amount they donate. Rather, to cover higher staffing costs forced upon us under the rule, we will be forced to hire fewer staff and limit the hours those staff can work – all while the well-funded special interests that we're up against will simply spend more.
The logic of the rule, as applied to non-profit, cause-oriented organizations, makes no sense. A person of means – in service of a cause to which they feel deeply committed – can volunteer to work for our organization for free for as many hours as they wish, but a person of lesser means – who is no less committed to the work we do – cannot agree to work for our organization for less than $47,476 without having their work hours strictly limited in order to keep our costs affordable. This raises First Amendment concerns.
The DOL attempts to address the concerns raised by non-profits by helpfully reminding us that employees of certain non-profit organizations are not covered by the law or subject to the $47,476 minimum salary – so long as they do not engage in “interstate commerce”. But in today’s world, any employee who regularly uses the Internet, email, phone, or snail mail as part of their work will be engaged in “interstate commerce.” As it’s difficult to imagine a scenario where employees could effectively advocate for a cause without these tools, the DOL’s helpful reminder is cold comfort indeed.
U.S. PIRG will pursue all available options to prevent this rule from diminishing our ability to advocate for the public interest.”
Your donation supports U.S. PIRG’s work to stand up for consumers on the issues that matter, especially when powerful interests are blocking progress.