NBC News; November 5, 2013
Steel workers who do their jobs wearing flame-retardant gear tried to convince the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday that they should be paid for the time they spend “donning and doffing” such items before and after their shifts.
In a case that could affect unionized workers in poultry processing, meat packing and other sectors, roughly 800 current and former workers at the United States Steel Corp plant in Gary, Indiana, are seeking the extra pay.
A crucial point in the case is the difference between “clothes” and “protective gear.”
In high court arguments, the nine justices struggled to clearly differentiate between the two — a task that the U.S. Labor Department has only made harder over the years.
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