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Behind The Mic With Joe Mathieu: Big Business Pushes Back On Overtime

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BOSTON (CBS) – President Obama today rolls out his plan to revamp overtime protections as part of his promise to shrink the gap between rich and poor.

And you better believe business groups are already taking issue with this – much like they have over a proposal to hike the minimum wage.

The president today will direct the Labor Department to raise the threshold under which many salaried workers can earn time-and-a-half – it currently stands at about $450 a week.

He argues this is necessary because wages in this country aren’t even keeping-up with inflation. The president’s economic advisors say more than 3 million people would automatically be covered by overtime provisions under this move.

That’s the upshot.

But many employers who are critical of the idea say they will simply cut people’s salaries or hours to keep them below the threshold. And some trade groups are warning that higher costs to employers would only mean higher costs for consumers.

Some of those groups are pledging to fight the move – or at least attempt to manage it – beginning with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Not to be confused with the Greater Boston Chamber, the national group tells the Wall Street Journal that it expects to be very engaged in this matter, though it’s unclear exactly how.

The president is doing this unilaterally as he promised in his State of the Union address – because there’s not enough support for this in congress. So opponents may have to work directly with employers to find ways around it.

Follow Joe on Twitter @joemathieuwbz

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