February 12, 2014
Washington, DC—The National Consumers League applauds President Obama’s leadership in signing 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, commends the President for using executive powers to take a positive step for this group of minimum wage workers.
“As we all seek ways to close the growing wealth disparities in the United States, the President’s action is a big step up 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 join so many allies, including Change To Win and the Good Jobs Nation, who have spent months demonstrating outside federal buildings calling on the President to use the power of the pen to help lift these low income workers out of poverty.”
The Executive Order mirrors the President’s State of the Union 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 has joined worker advocacy groups in supporting one-day strikes at federally operated buildings including 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 shared their stories of wage theft, working overtime with no additional pay, unsafe working conditions, and lack of benefits or raises over many years. These workers 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.
“We are so gratified that the President and Labor Secretary Tom Perez have heard our pleas on behalf of workers at the lowest end of the economic spectrum. A federal executive order increasing the wages the US government’s contractors pay will have a ripple effect across the economy. We applaud the President and his Administration listening to these workers and acting on their behalf,” 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. Its 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.