January 28, 2014
Washington, DC--Tonight during President Obama’s fifth State of the Union address, he is expected to announce that his administration will issue an Executive Order to raise the minimum wage for employees of federal contractors to $10.10 an hour. The National Consumers League (NCL), the nation’s pioneering worker and consumer advocacy organization, applauds the President’s use of his Executive powers to take a positive step for this group of minimum wage workers.
“This is a giant step in the right direction for thousands of workers struggling to make ends meet on the paltry federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour,” said Sally Greenberg, Executive Director of NCL. “We, along with many allies, including Change To Win and the Good Jobs Nation, have been demonstrating outside federal buildings calling on the President to use the power of the pen to lift these poorly paid workers out of poverty.”
The Executive Order mirrors the President’s proposal for raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. Similar legislation has been introduced in the U.S. Senate by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), and in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. George Miller (D-CA), Both bills are stalled in Congress. NCL applauds President Obama for making income inequality in America a top priority.
For the past year, federal contract employees and worker advocacy groups, including NCL, have been staging one-day strikes at federally operated buildings, such as Union Station and the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum, to ask President Obama to do what is right by those who work in federal facilities. Many low-income workers told their stories of wage theft, working overtime with no additional pay, unsafe working conditions, and lack of benefits or raises over many years. Many bravely went on strike, putting their jobs in jeopardy, to demonstrate and tell their stories.
Many Americans are often surprised to learn that workers in these facilities are so poorly paid that they must rely on taxpayer-funded relief programs for food, housing, and healthcare assistance.
“The President and Labor Secretary Tom Perez clearly understand that Americans of all political persuasions strongly back increased minimum wages for the lowest income workers. This is just what the doctor ordered. We applaud the President and his Administration for giving a leg up to those at the lowest end of the economic ladder,” said Michell McIntyre, NCL’s Outreach Director, Labor and Worker Rights.
About the National Consumers League
The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America's pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit www.nclnet.org.