The Proof is In The Lawsuit

Note:  This is part of a series of posts detailing the 2009 Pennsylvania budget impasse.  To see all posts in this series, click here.

I was going to blog about the curious email I received from Metro Bank, but that will have to wait.  A commenter just posted a very interesting link regarding our now-in-effect budget impasse, and I wanted to share.

Governor Rendell is stating that the court has declared that the Pennsylvania Constitution supersedes the Fair Labor Standards Act.  And as you know, I have repeatedly said that this is incorrect.  The Rendell administration is only telling part of the story; because there is no conflict between the Constitution and the FLSA, neither supersedes the other.  The court has said that the FLSA doesn’t care where they money comes from, and in fact, not having money is not an excuse for violating the FLSA.  And in reviewing the court’s published opinion, I somehow missed this very enlightening footnote:

Continue reading The Proof is In The Lawsuit

Pennsylvania Budget Impasse 2009: Part 3

Note:  This is part of a series of posts detailing the 2009 Pennsylvania budget impasse.  To see all posts in this series, click here.

Pennsylvania’s annual budget impasse (2009 edition) is well underway.  Today, June 30th, is the deadline for a budget to be passed as per state law.  Naturally, our legislature and governor are all too busy having a pissing match to be bothered to actually do their jobs.  But they’ve all found plenty of time to spread a lot of misinformation.  Despite what Governor Rendell might suggest, AFSCME’s 2008 lawsuit did not declare that state employees must not be paid.  Here’s why:

Continue reading Pennsylvania Budget Impasse 2009: Part 3

Pennsylvania Budget Impasse ’09: Part II

Note:  This is part of a series of posts detailing the 2009 Pennsylvania budget impasse.  To see all posts in this series, click here.

An anonymous source just forwarded me a very interesting email concerning Pennsylvania’s threat to require its employees to work with delayed pay.  While it’s already been fairly well established that federal labor law will apply, our Governor and our legislature seem to think that it does not.  I can not fathom why they would put Pennsylvania taxpayers on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars in civil damages by breaking the law.

At any rate, the US Department of Labor — the federal agency tasked with enforcing the Fair Labor Standards Act — seems to disagree with them.  And Garcia v. San Antonio Metropolitan Transit Authority (469 U.S. 528 (1985)), decided almost a quarter century ago, says that government workers are, in fact, protected by the FLSA.

Continue reading Pennsylvania Budget Impasse ’09: Part II

AFSCME to the Rescue!

With an impending budget impasse, AFSCME — the union to which most Pennsylvania civil service employees pay dues, regardless of whether they’re a member or not — has come forward in full support of its members with guns a-blazin’.  Earlier this week, AFSCME finally updated their website to reference the impending stop-pay scenario with helpful links to unemployment resources.

There’s just one problem with that:

WE’RE NOT UNEMPLOYED!

We can not collect unemployment because we are still employed.  I’m not clear on which is worse; being laid off and collecting unemployment, or being forced to work without a paycheck.  Oh sure, we’ll get paid — but it will be somewhere between 1 and 52 weeks late.  I’m sure Honda, Sallie Mae, my mortgage company, and my credit card company will all understand.  And I’m positive Giant will be willing to just let me take whatever food I need and pay for it “later”.

Thanks, guys.  Big help.  Glad to see you’re on this.

State Employees Are Protected Under the FLSA

There’s been some talk lately about whether or not state employees are covered under the protections of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938.  The short answer is yes.

When the law was first passed, it was not intended to cover government employees.  In 1966, the Act was amended to cover certain government employees in certain conditions.  In 1976, in National League of Cities v. Usery (426 U.S. 833 (1976)), the US Supreme Court ruled that the FLSA did not cover government employees doing traditional government-employee-type work, effectively ending the employees’ protection under FLSA.

However, Garcia v. San Antonio Metropolitan Transit Authority (469 U.S. 528 (1985)) effectively reversed National League of Cities.  It clearly states that employees of state and local governments are covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act.  And given the Supremacy Clause of the US Constitution, no state legislation can override federal law.  So even if our legislators rush through an emergency bill that attempts to block FLSA protections for state employees, it would not stand up against federal law.

Your move.

Note:  This is part of a series of posts detailing the 2009 Pennsylvania budget impasse.  To see all posts in this series, click here.