WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement as the new $15 an hour minimum wage for federal contractors went into effect:
“Today, the minimum wage for federal contractors has finally been raised to $15 an hour. This raise will affect hundreds of thousands of workers, who will no longer be forced to labor for starvation wages under the employment of the federal government. The Progressive Caucus fought hard for this rule — and while the change is long overdue, it is no less laudatory. It is no exaggeration to say that, thanks to President Biden, the new minimum wage will be life changing for these workers and their families.
“As we celebrate the implementation of this rule today, we must redouble our efforts to increase the wages of all workers. The federal minimum wage has been stuck at a woeful $7.25 an hour for thirteen years. Meanwhile, costs of living have steadily increased, and billionaire wealth — made on the backs of these workers — has skyrocketed, including during the pandemic. We cannot tolerate such shameful and extreme inequality any longer.“The Progressive Caucus has been one of the leading advocates for raising wages, both through executive action and legislation. In addition to today’s increase, the CPC pressed previous administrations to raise federal contractors’ wages in 2013 — advocacy that successfully secured a raise to $10.10 an hour — and 2017. Ours was the first caucus to support a $15 minimum wage, introducing the Pay Workers A Living Wage Act in 2015. In 2019, the CPC helped lead the House to pass the Raise The Wage Act in 2019, and in 2021, we led the effort to secure a $15 minimum wage in the COVID relief package last year — all of which have been blocked by the Senate. In 2022, we must finally end or reform the filibuster and secure a living wage for every worker in this country.”