Dear Acting Director Vought:
We request that you direct federal agencies to provide back pay to low- and middle-income employees of federal contractors who were furloughed or otherwise impacted by the government shutdown. We understand that several members of the Senate are writing with a similar request.
We have introduced legislation that would grant back pay to low-wage federally contracted retail, food, custodial and security service workers who are furloughed during the shutdown. Even without that legislation, however, we believe federal agencies can provide back pay to these workers.
Contract workers and their families should not suffer the consequences of a shutdown for which they are blameless. Low- and middle-income workers perform jobs that are critical to the federal government. Many of these workers live paycheck-to-paycheck.
After past shutdowns, the federal government has not provided back pay to contract workers. In addition to our fight provide back pay to federal employees, we are committed to righting this wrong for contract workers. Government contracts typically have provisions to modify the terms of the contract, and federal contracting officers should use these provisions to work with contractors to provide back pay for contract workers who lost wages as a result of the shutdown.
Providing back pay to these low- and middle-income contract workers who are furloughed by their employers is the right thing to do, and it is in the federal government's best interest to provide back pay to them. Contractor workers cannot afford the chaos and uncertainty of government shutdowns, and some of these workers may seek other jobs if they do not receive back pay.
We urge you to take immediate steps to ensure that contractor workers get the back pay that they deserve by providing clear directions for agencies and contractors to do so.
Thank you for your consideration, and we look forward to your reply.