Joe Biden is being sued in federal court for setting a minimum wage through executive order. The Pacific Legal Foundation has brought a lawsuit against the Biden administration on behalf of Duke Bradford of Colorado and his company, Arkansas Valley Adventures, claiming that only Congress can establish minimum wages laws.
Attorney Caleb Kruckenberg with the Pacific Legal Foundation said that Biden is attempting to exercise a power reserved to Congress. He said that the Constitution provides that only Congress can legislate federal laws binding the public.
Biden’s administrative rule can easily result in considerable increases in fees for customers of the plaintiff’s company due to a mandate for a minimum hourly wage and overtime for vacation guides traveling with guests on wilderness adventures.
The new order issued by Biden would impact the operations of private companies, including the plaintiff company, compelling it to shorten the trips if offered by reducing working hours for guides while dramatically increasing fees.
Arkansas Valley Adventures has never been a contractor with the federal government. Still, it is being swept up in Department of Labor rules because it holds a national land use permit to do business on federal land. Operating guided rafting tours on rivers running through federal land puts Arkansas Valley Adventures in the crosshairs of the rule.
Arkansas Valley Adventures provides a variety of outdoor adventures for its customers and employs around 250 workers, including guides who participate in rafting trips that last several days. Those workers are often college students who spend their summers working for the company and almost always put in more than 40 hours working each week while on duty. Currently, they earn a flat fee from the company per trip, along with gratuities received from customers.
Now Biden’s executive order threatens to end their jobs altogether. All federal contractors are ordered to pay at least $15 per hour plus overtime as defined by the Department of Labor, beginning in January 2022.
The Pacific Legal Foundation alleges that the extensive definition of “federal contractor” takes in over 500,000 private companies, including 45,000 providing recreational services whose only connection to the federal government is holding a land-use permit.
The lawsuit also alleges that if the guide service company is subjected to the Department of Labor requirements, services of the type it offers will only be available to “the very wealthy.” The plaintiffs’ attorney went on to say that using executive power to “force a social agenda” is chilling and unconstitutional.