Walgreens’s ‘No Overtime’ Rule: Why I Support Raising the Overtime Threshold

My name is Caleb Sneeringer, and I worked for Walgreens for six years. I was first hired in 2008 as an assistant manager, and in 2010 I was promoted to executive assistant manager—my first salaried position with Walgreens. I earned a salary of $46,000 and was scheduled for 45 hours a week.

Unfortunately, 45 hours a week quickly turned into 55–70 hours. You see, around the time of my promotion, Walgreens implemented a “no overtime” rule for hourly employees. In my store this and other budget cuts resulted in a loss of approximately 150 hours a week among hourly employees—and their work and responsibilities were shifted to salaried staff. This created a more unpredictable scheduling situation, and many store associates were forced to use SNAP assistance (i.e., food stamps) to meet their basic needs.

Right now, the U.S. Department of Labor is considering an important rule change that would affect salaried workers and overtime pay. If implemented, the overtime salary threshold will be raised from $23,660 to $50,440. For me, my former coworkers at Walgreens, and millions of workers across the country, this rule change will mean the right to receive the overtime pay we are owed.

I left Walgreens to accept a position at Advance Auto Parts, where I was led to believe I would be valued as an employee. Sadly, my experience was much the same—long hours with no overtime pay.

My experience is why I strongly support raising the overtime salary threshold. I told my story to the Labor Department, and I encourage others to submit a comment as well. I believe strongly that when employers treat their employees fairly with good wages and predictable schedules, it fosters a positive work environment. If we take care of our workers, the economy will not only survive, it will thrive. People who believe that business is a casualty of stronger labor regulations haven’t seen what I’ve seen. There is enough money in the corporate bucket and among the top 1 percent of earners to help move workers out of poverty, give them a reasonable 40-hour workweek, and begin rebuilding the middle class.