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The AFL-CIO filed a reply brief with the U.S. District Court in Sherman, Texas, on Thursday to support is motion that it should take over defense of the federal overtime rule should the Department of Labor withdraw from the case.
The overtime rule would have raised the threshold for overtime-exempt employees to $913 a week, or $47,476 annually for a full-time employee, compared with the current $455 a week, or $23,660 annually.
On Nov. 22, Judge Amos L. Mazzant III of U.S. District Court in Sherman issued a preliminary injunction halting the rule’s Dec. 1 implementation. The Department of Labor then filed an appeal with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, asking for an expedited briefing schedule in the case.
The appeals court issued a schedule calling for briefs in the case to be submitted by Jan. 31, which means oral arguments in the case would not be heard before Mr. Trump’s inauguration. The Labor Department filed its first brief in that case last week.
Mr. Trump’s selection for labor secretary, Andrew Puzder, has criticized the rule, and the DOL is not expected to pursue the case.
On Dec. 9, the AFL-CIO had filed a motion to intervene in the case as a defendant, which means it could replace the Department of Labor as a defendant if and when the department withdraws. The union’s bid has been opposed by business and state plaintiffs in the case.
In its reply brief Thursday, the Austin-based Texas AFL-CIO said, “Mr. Puzder has vehemently criticized the final rule, and it is to be expected that Mr. Puzder would not choose to appeal any final order in this case vacating the final rule. Should that occur, the Texas AFL-CIO has a legitimate interest in being able to defend the final rule by appealing the order vacating it.”
Meanwhile, on Dec. 12, the Department of Labor had asked the District Court to stay further proceedings on the issue until the 5th Circuit rules in the matter.
Next on the agenda at the District Court is a telephone status conference scheduled by Judge Mazzant for Dec. 30.
A Texas district judge’s ruling issuing a temporary injunction halting implementation of the Department of Labor’s overtime rule was an “error of law,” the department says in a brief filed Thursday with an appeals court.