The president of the Iowa Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO is taking a shot at the President over proposed changes to overtime rules a day before the President visits Des Moines. Mark Smith says the I-F-L recently collected petitions against the rules. He says they have over three-thousand petitions signed, one thousand or more letters, asking the president to “stop attacking the overtime, and to stop outsourcing jobs.” Smith says he’s been overwhelmed by the response.He says he’s worked for the union for 25 years and has never seen this type of outpouring from members over any issue. He says it’s “a gut issue that people understand.” The national AFL-CIO has endorsed the president’s democrat opponent, and Smith was asked if this is just a political tactic to help in the campaign.He says, “Sure it’s a political statement, sure it relates to that, but this crosses party lines.” Smith says we’ve had overtime since 1938 and no president has taken steps to take away overtime, it’s always been to improve overtime. Smith says the new rules will eliminate most overtime. He says the criteria now to exempt someone from overtime is pretty limited. He says one of the provisions of the new rules is that you have education that you couldn’t get in high school. Smith says most people working have some type of post-secondary education. Smith says the release of the petitions was scheduled for earlier this month, but it just worked out that they could be released a day before President Bush’s visit to Iowa Thursday.
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