There's no proof that recent revisions to the Fair Labor Standards Act will exacerbate the disparity between the rich and poor, despite claims to the contrary made by labor unions and critics of the Bush administration.
The new rules change the eligibility requirements for receiving overtime pay, basing them on more stringent salary restrictions and job duties. These are changes that employers have sought for decades, particularly questioning why highly paid professionals should receive overtime pay.
The regulations are also aimed at limiting workers' multimillion-dollar lawsuits, many of them successful, claiming they were cheated out of overtime pay for working more than 40 hours a week.
The Labor Department estimates that 107,000 workers who earn more than $100,000 annually will lose overtime protection, while 1.3 million workers making less than $23,660 a year will now be eligible.
Pay TV for rural America
Have you switched from cable to satellite TV? If yours is like the estimated 90 million U.S. households that currently subscribe to a pay-television service, it's a question you're likely to ponder in the near future.
Advances in digital technology have made satellite TV a more reasonable choice. Through the first six months of this year, industry leaders DirecTV and Dish Network have gained more than 1.6 million new subscribers: More than 23 million households subscribe to satellite TV.
At the same time, though, cable providers have reported a loss of only 300,000 subscribers-so where are satellite TV's new customers coming from? In many cases, they are from rural communities where the high cost of running cable was never cost-effective. For these consumers, the price of satellite TV is of little concern.
For current cable subscribers, though, price and service are sure to be determining factors in making a switch. Over the past decade, cable rates have risen dramatically with the addition of digital technologies like video-on-demand. And while satellite providers have been quicker to market with interactive services and digital video recorders (DVRs), cable still has a distinct advantage with its ability to offer broadband internet services.
- Costco Wholesale Corp. started test marketing caskets alongside mattresses at a North Side Chicago store last week. The caskets, made of 18-gauge steel, are priced at $799.99 and can be delivered within 48 hours.
- To ease congestion at O'Hare International Airport, federal officials have temporarily cut 37 daily peak-hour arrivals by United Airlines and American Airlines, its two largest carriers. About two-thirds of arrivals at O'Hare have been on-time this year, compared with 80 percent systemwide.
- Belo Corp. will pay $23 million to compensate advertisers for overstated circulation at its flagship newspaper, The Dallas Morning News. Belo is the third major media company to report such problems. Tribune Co. overstated circulation at New York's Newsday, while Hollinger International Inc. overstated the Chicago Sun-Times circulation.
- Nearly half of midsize U.S. companies surveyed by Conference Board, an international business research organization, have not raised spending on security since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. The study was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
- IBM Corp. expects to hire 18,800 people this year, citing strong growth in key business areas such as consulting, grid computing, and Linux. Only one-third of those positions are expected to be filled in the United States, though. Like other big companies, IBM has come under fire for shifting jobs to lower-cost countries in Asia.