While in the White House, Barack Obama had ambitious plans to expand overtime pay to millions of American workers who didn’t receive it, seeking to revive the New Deal promise of a fair wage for a fair day’s work. He was partly inspired by a single mom working at a sandwich shop in Tucson, Arizona.
Elizabeth Paredes was 23 and raising a 3-year-old boy in 2015 when she concluded it was unfair that she didn’t get paid time and a half for the extra hours she put in as an assistant manager at Baggin’s Gourmet Sandwiches. She was working at least 50 hours a week at the deli chain but still wasn’t earning a higher wage for those overtime hours, leaving her struggling to pay her rent, buy groceries, and afford childcare. Paredes went to her manager to complain, but she says he replied with the words: “That’ll never happen.”