Labor chief pushing White House over overtime, silica protections

The nation’s top labor leader is calling on the Obama administration to finalize a series of long-delayed worker protections.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on Thursday called on the White House to quickly approve new standards for overtime, silica exposure and retirement investing.

“President Obama recognizes that the current rules are out of date and too weak to protect working men and women, so we are pleased that these improvements are moving forward,” Trumka said in a statement.

“These worker protections have been decades in the making. It’s time to push these rules over the finish line so these important protections are finally cemented into place,” he added.

The Labor Department sent the overtime rules to the White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) earlier this week for final approval.

The overtime rules would ensure that millions of employees who work more than 40 hours in a week are paid extra for the long hours they work.

The rules have been in the making since March 2014.

The White House is also reviewing new rules to protect workers from exposure to silica dust. The proposed rules would cut the level of permitted silica dust in half, but it is unclear what the final standard will contain.

The Labor Department submitted the final rule to OMB in December and is still waiting to hear back on a rule-making process that has been years in the making. 

Trumka is also pushing the White House on the so-called fiduciary rule, which would require retirement investment advisers to keep their clients’ best interest in mind.