The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) co-chairs Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) and Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) along with Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) issued statements this evening in advance of President Obama's expected executive action enhancing workplace protections for federal contractors.
"President Obama is to be applauded for standing with the thousands of workers that have fought tirelessly and spoken courageously for dignity and fair work practices," Rep. Ellison said. "This executive order builds on the President's minimum wage executive order and will allow the federal government to lead in the fight for good jobs and hold workplaces accountable to fair standards. It's common sense to award federal contracts to companies that follow the law."
"Every worker deserves fair pay for hard work, and today President Obama demonstrated his commitment to protecting that right," Rep. Grijalva said. "This executive order ensures government agencies don't reward companies that mistreat their workers. Taxpayer money should never support companies that do not support their own employees, and I'm glad to see the president act to ensure that no longer happens."
"Once again, President Obama is taking strong action on behalf of hard working Americans," said Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. "The federal government has no business contracting to those who would violate federal law and trample workers' rights. If we are to root out wage theft and labor abuses in America, we cannot overlook those perpetrated by federal contractors."
"I am glad the President is taking action on this important issue, which the Congressional Progressive Caucus has done much to draw attention to in Congress," said Democratic Whip Hoyer. "Off-the-clock work and denial of overtime pay represents not only a significant violation of our laws but also of the basic American belief that hard work ought to lead to fair compensation and opportunity. At a time when those earning the lowest salaries are already struggling to make ends meet, combating wage theft goes hand in hand with efforts to raise the minimum wage and invest in education and job training that will help workers rise up into our middle class."
The Progressive Caucus has been advocating for better workplace protections for the past year. In March, the CPC sent a letter to the Department of Labor urging Secretary Thomas E. Perez to collect data on contractors that engage in wage theft. This summer, CPC members have successfully attached wage theft amendments to four appropriations bills. Just last week, the Progressive Caucus sent a letter to the President asking him to sign a Good Jobs Executive Order to reward contractors that treat their workers fairly.