Obama Singles Out a Union Worker Who's 'Happy' to Work for Overtime Pay

March 14, 2014 - 11:25 AM

obama opportunity agenda

President Barack Obama signs a Presidential Memorandum directing Labor Secretary Tom Perez to modernize overtime protections on Thursday, March 13, 2014 at the White House. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

(CNSNews.com) - "Today I'm going to use my pen to give more Americans the chance to earn the overtime pay that they deserve," President Obama told a gathering at the White House on Thursday.

To illustrate why overtime pay is so important, he singled out Nancy Minor who works at an oil refinery in Pennsylvania.

"So for the last 16 years Nancy has been a single mom raising and educating four kids on her own. And that is not easy as you might imagine. She's been able to do it, though, thanks in part to her overtime pay.

"For more than 75 years, the 40-hour work week and the overtime that comes with it have helped countless workers like Nancy get ahead. And it means that when she's asked to make significant sacrifices on behalf of her company, which she's happily -- happy to do, they're also looking out for her, recognizing that, you know, that puts a strain on her family and having to get a baby-sitter and all kinds of things, adjustments that she has to make. It's just fair. It's just the right thing to do."

Overtime pay is a key element of union contracts. But Obama did not mention that Nancy Minor is a union worker.

However, as the Philadelphia Inquirer reported, she is vice president of Local 10-1 of the United Steel Workers in Philadelphia. The newspaper noted that Minor was "very involved in helping the steelworkers save jobs when the Sunoco refineries were closing."

It's no accident that Obama used a "single mother" to illustrate why he's ordered a revision of federal overtime regulations. His so-called "Opportunity Agenda" is heavily tilted toward women, a core Democratic constituency, many of whom earn minimum wage.

"Now, making work pay means making sure women earn equal pay for equal work," Obama said on Thursday. "It means -- (applause) -- it means giving women the chance to have a baby without sacrificing jobs, or a day off to care for a sick child or parent without worrying about making ends meet."