ASTA Presses “Blacklist” Case with Labor Department

by Richard D’Ambrosio

The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) met this week with the leadership of the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Wage & Hour Division, continuing its efforts to remove travel agents from the retail establishment “blacklist” that forces agency owners to pay overtime.

While ASTA wouldn’t disclose details of the meeting, Eben Peck, ASTA executive vice president, advocacy, said “we are confident we have a strong case and DOL is considering our request,” but added that it is “clear to us that we need to bring political pressure to bear on the Department.”

Peck instructed membership that they could help these efforts by communicating to their Congressperson through ASTA’s grassroots portal, asking them to support the Travel Agent Retail Fairness Act (H.R. 2515), which seeks to remove travel agencies from the blacklist. He also reminded members to attend ASTA Legislative Day (May 7-8), which includes meetings with Congress, and where H.R. 2515 “will be one of the top policy issues we bring to Capitol Hill.”

“The goal of this campaign is to have the federal government treat travel agencies like any other retail business, protect agency owners against audits and lawsuits and allow them to better serve their clients,” Peck said.

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