Biden now sued for setting pay for river rafting guides

You’ve splurged on this vacation and signed your family up for a river rafting trip down a scenic gorge in Colorado.

But when you arrive, you’re informed there’s a massive surcharge, per person, because of Joe Biden’s executive order mandating both a minimum hourly wage plus overtime for your guides, who will be on duty for the next 48 hours of your trip.

Unlikely scenario? Surely. But not without a touch of realism as a lawsuit is challenging Joe Biden’s arbitrary decision to require that minimum wage for employees of tens of thousands of private companies that interact with the federal government.

It’s the Pacific Legal Foundation that has gone to court in Denver on behalf of Buena Vista-based Arkansas Valley Adventures and owner Duke Bradford.

“Only Congress can make law setting minimum wages,” explained PLF attorney Caleb Kruckenberg. “The president can’t establish a minimum wage through administrative fiat. The Constitution says that only Congress can make laws that bind the public.”

Further, the new rule from Biden would directly impact the private business, forcing it to cut the length of trips, cut guides’ hours, radically raise fees – or something else.

AVA is not a federal contractor and never has been, but the Department of Labor included all businesses that hold a special land use permit to operate on federal lands. River rafting on federal lands subjects AVA to the new rules, which don’t make sense for a seasonal workplace where rafting trips can take days, the foundation explained.

AVA provides a wide range of outdoor experiences for customers. The company employs 250, including those who guide multi-day river rafting trips.

“After 24 hours without cell phones, people begin to embrace their unplugged environment, connect with nature, and reconnect with themselves,” the foundation explains.

But the employees, often college students who spend their summers on the expeditions, almost always work more than 40 hours a week.

They now earn a flat fee per trip plus a fixed wage beyond that, plus gratuities.

But that business model is threatened by Biden.

“The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), in implementing an Executive Order signed by President Biden, has ordered all federal contractors to pay a $15-per-hour minimum wage, plus overtime, starting January 30, 2022. The rule’s absurdly broad definition of ‘contractors’ wraps in more than a half-million private firms, including 45,000 that provide concessions or recreational services—like rafting outfitters—whose only ties to the federal government are special land use permits or licenses,” the foundation said.

“Unlike a shift worker at a manufacturing facility or a grocery store with regular hours, the new wage mandate simply doesn’t make sense for a workplace structure in which back-to-back rafting trips can take days. Nor do these workers qualify for any other federal benefits.”

The complaint charges that without the ability to pay guides per-trip wages, the bottom line is that the outdoors will remain available only to “the very wealthy who can pay more.”

The foundation explained, “An executive power grab to force a social agenda through federal contractors is chilling. It’s also unconstitutional. Neither workplace wages nor any other legislative policy should be subject to the whims of whoever occupies the White House.”

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This article was originally published by the WND News Center.

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