Closing the Gap between Reich and Poor: Which Side is the Department of Labor On?


In establishing the Department of Labor (DOL) in 1913, Congress stated that its purpose “shall be to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners of the United States.”‘3 The new Secretary of Labor in the Clinton Administration now has an opportunity to undo the damage done by a dozen years of de facto deregulation of labor standards by proemployer administrations. A test of the extent to which Robert Reich’s program differs from his predecessors’ presents itself in one small yet significant area in which he has as yet taken no initiative—employers’ efforts to compel workers to work overtime without additional compensation by labeling them salaried managers.

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