Skip to main content

Sometimes in America, when low-paid workers stand up and speak out, even the President of the United States takes notice. This is one of those moments.

This morning, the White House announced that President Obama will sign a “Good Jobs” Executive Order requiring government contractors to raise the minimum wage for their lowest-paid workers to $10.10 for all new and renegotiated contracts. The president will include this announcement in his State of the Union Address tonight.

Tonight President Obama will use his executive authority to give a boost to hundreds of thousands of hard-working Americans. The nation as a whole benefits from an economy where all workers earn a decent living.

While it’s unfortunate that the order cannot apply to existing workers until their contracts  are renegotiated, the president’s action adds momentum to the fight for a federal minimum wage increase that would benefit all Americans. In signing this order, the president has taken action. Now it is up to Congress to finish the job.

Demos’ research quantified the expansive size of the low-wage workforce supported by federal taxpayer dollars. We found that nearly two million Americans paid through federal contracts, grants, loans, concession agreements, health care spending, and property leases were paid less than $12 an hour. Worse, our later researchshowed that the government is spending an estimated $21 to $24 billion a year to pay private contractors for the compensation of top executives. These findings put together describe a major engine of inequality in the center of our economy—underwritten by our tax dollars.

The president has a responsibility to make sure taxpayers dollars are being used wisely, and research shows that better paid workers are more productive, with less turnover. President Obama’s decision today is in keeping with theprecedent that ensures that employees working on America’s behalf are treated fairly on the job, and that companies that have the privilege of doing business with the United States are upholding high standards of employment practices.

We’re thrilled today to see the work of our partners across the country reach fruition -- especially the brave federal contract and concession workers organizing with Good Jobs Nation who walked out on strike over and over again in the past year and outspoken members of Congress like Keith Ellison, Raul Grijalva, Eleanor Holmes-Norton and Senator Bernie Sanders who stood up for people working on behalf of America.

I feel so fortunate that I, my indispensable research partner Robert Hiltonsmith, and all my Demos colleagues could be a part of it.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site