IR # 97-32
Tuesday, June 3, 1997

Rick Rice
Troy Swauger
(415) 972-8835

Court Rules In Favor Of Industrial Welfare Commission

SAN FRANCISCO -- The San Francisco Superior Court today ruled in favor of the Industrial Welfare Commission and one of its members, labor representative Syed T. Alam, finding that a challenge to Alam's appointment by the Professional Engineers in California Government was unfounded.

"This clearly vindicates Mr. Alam, affirming him as a duly appointed member of the Industrial Welfare Commission," said John Duncan, acting director of the Department of Industrial Relations, "Mr. Alam has been a good-faith representative of working people in his service on the IWC and it is unfortunate that he was forced to endure this litigation simply for voting his conscience."

The decision also upholds the IWC's vote to conform California's overtime rules for most occupations and industries to those of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The new state rules, which require payment of overtime after 40 hours work, are scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 1998.

"Since the IWC voted to adopt them in April, the new rules have been vigorously challenged by organized labor even though they are not directly affected by the change, as their collective bargaining agreements supersede the applicable state regulations. This decision will keep in place Mr. Alam's vote to adopt the new flexible work week rules," Duncan said. "The vast majority of California families will benefit from this change to more flexible and family-friendly work hours."

In addition, according to a study by Stanford University economics professor Dr. Thomas MaCurdy, families will also gain in income once the new rules are in effect. His research indicates that Californians will see earnings increase by approximately $500 million annually.

"California has long been synonymous with individuality, opportunity and progress," said Duncan. "With the absence of any meaningful legislation, we are anxiously awaiting the impact of the new regulations which will enable Californians to enjoy what the federal government and 47 other states already have -- flexible work weeks that will continue to provide our workforce with the ability to express their individuality, provide them opportunity and help our state continue to progress."