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Orgs push WH to go beyond minimum wage for contractors

The Biden administration, from its earliest days in January, made it known it is pushing to ensure not only will all federal employees get a $15-per-hour minimum wage, but so too will federal contractors.

On Jan. 22, the president issued an executive order directing all agencies to identify federal employee positions that earn less—and to come up with recommendations to raise those slots up. Government leaders were given 100 days to fulfill this first step.

Now, as noted in a wide-ranging column in the Washington Post, several pro-minimum wage and employee rights organizations backing that White House move are pushing for more.

According to the article, advocates—including the Center for American Progress Action Fund and others—are concerting pressure on the White House and Congress to not only secure a $15-an-hour floor on pay, but also provide federal contractors with a minimum wage indexed to inflation, “sufficient” benefits, greater protection for workers with disabilities, and stronger labor rights, among other improvements.

The piece cites a range of inadequacies in compensation given many federal contractors—with examples of folks paid around $12 or $13 per hour as private-sector contractors—some overworked and given few if any benefits.

The column emphasizes that companies that exploit employees in this way reap enormous illicit profits. It summarizes a blockbuster Government Accountability Office report from last year detailing thousands of Service Contract Act violations committed, in fact, by a majority of companies sampled that contracted with the federal government.

On the opposite end of the ideological spectrum, the Heritage Foundation as well as other conservative organizations, as noted in the piece, remain circumspect about the new push—and concerned that the federal government not implement policies and laws that result in taxpayers being forced to “overpay” for services.

2021 Digital Almanac

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