By Edward-Isaac Doverie
The Congressional Progressive Caucus has a new suggestion for President Barack Obama, who’s said he’s looking for more ideas for new executive orders: guaranteeing wage protections and negotiation rights for federal contractors.
The caucus was one of the leading voices calling for Obama to sign the executive order that raised the minimum wage, which he announced he would in his State of the Union in January. Now, co-chairs Reps. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) say he needs to go further and sign what they’re calling the Good Jobs Executive Order, in a new letter to the president obtained by POLITICO.
That order would guarantee labor and employment law protections and ensure no contractors are exempt from existing laws. It would also give preference to employers which provide a living wage and full benefits, and to those that allow collective bargaining and worker strikes.
While minimum wage for federal contractors was a good start, they say, more is needed to deal with “violations of workers’ rights like wage theft, which includes off-the-clock work and non-payment of overtime, remain unaddressed,” the letter argues.
Twenty-six million workers could be affected by the new protections — many of them women and minorities — and the situation is urgent, the lawmakers said in the letter.
“A Good Jobs Executive Order, which could impact millions of workers, is a logical next step after raising the wage of federal contract workers to $10.10 earlier this year,” the letter states. “We urge you to adopt it as a centerpiece of your ongoing effort to grow and strengthen the middle class.”