Don't kid yourselves. We live in a country and state of ... by ... and for corporations. To wit:
A number of technology companies, including Sony, Electronic Arts, Apple and Cisco Systems, had been tripped up by California's overtime regulations, which stated that highly skilled technology workers earning less than $75,000 a year, or $36 an hour, were entitled to OT.
Sounds simple, but the devil is in the math. Companies have contended that as long as the worker's annual salary was at least $75,000, he or she was exempt from overtime pay, regardless of how many hours the employee clocked. Labor advocates have countered that the number of hours worked matters very much: They argued that the regulation in fact required companies to pay $36 or more for each hour worked, or else the employee was due OT.
As a result, programmers, engineers and graphic artists have filed lawsuits in recent years demanding overtime compensation for working long hours without extra pay. Some, including Sony and EA, have paid tens of millions of dollars to settle those cases.
The new law, which Schwarzenegger signed late Tuesday and took effect immediately, eliminates the hourly calculation. It says employers can instead meet the overtime exemption by paying their workers a gross salary of at least $6,250 a month. That equals the same $75,000 a year, but it means that high-tech companies now don't have to worry about keeping track of the number of hours their employees work, said Carol Freeman, a partner at law firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius in Palo Alto. "There was an ambiguity in the law, and this clarifies that," Freeman said.
Kindly note that the "clarification" bones tech workers in a wonderful new way.
Where once tech workers had to earn at least $36 per hour, they now have to earn a baseline $6,250 per month, or $1,562.50 per week.
So let's do a little comparative math. The old law required at least $36/hr. At that rate, a regular workweek gets you $1,440/week. And if you work 43.5 hours, you're up to the new weekly minimum for tech workers of $1,562.50/week.
Does anyone who's got functioning frontal lobes think for a nano-second that tech companies or game companies are going to let people go home after 43.5 hours or work in five business days? Hell no. Most folks will be working sixty to eighty hour weeks just like always, and they'll be earning maybe eighteen bucks per hour, and it will all be perfectly legal because our Republican governor and Democratic legislature changed the damn law.
The above applies, of course, only to those who have been saved from the corruption and tyranny of paying union dues and working under the iron fist of a big, bad labor organization and its oppressive contract.
Meanwhile, our United States Congress is just now falling all over itself to bail out domestic and foreign corporations who had the bad judgment to buy junk-bond quality paper and now want the Feds to save them. Which of course the Feds will.
In the modern corporatist state, it's rugged individualism and free enterprise for workers, and socialism for companies "too large to fail" (whatever the hell that means.)