Legislation filed today by Sen. Bart Hester and Rep. Charlie Collins aims to override a 2016 ruling by the Arkansas Supreme Court that said a Gerber plant in Fort Smith owed about $3 million in overtime pay for time workers spent taking on and off work clothing.
The decision was 4-3.
The legislation filed today says the court was wrong in interpreting state law and would aim to clarify matters. The company argued that pay for donning and doffing work clothing had been bargained away in a collective bargaining agreement; the plaintiffs argued it had not.
The proposal aims to apply retroactively exemptions from minimum wage and overtime pay rules for activities preliminary to actual work duties.
Checks and balances? You get the flavor from this of what the legislature has in mind with “tort reform.” I had to laugh at people like Hester and Collins cloaking this attempt to take a court victory from workers by invoking the words “sanctity of a collective bargaining agreement.”