More than 200 low-wage federal contract employees in Washington D.C. went on strike on Tuesday morning and attended a Union Station rally to demand President Obama sign a "good jobs executive order."
Participating were employees working at the Ronald Reagan Building, the Pentagon, the Air and Space Museum, and the National Zoo who are employed under federal contracts. Joining them was an interfaith group of clergy members and members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. These workers are representative of almost 2 million low-wage private sector workers whose jobs are funded by the federal government.
Chanting that "$10.10 is not enough," these workers were asking Obama to issue an order that built upon his earlier order that increases the minimum wage on new federal contracts to $10.10 an hour. The "good jobs executive order" would apply to companies that hold contracts with the federal government and require them to improve working conditions, respect collective bargaining and to ban companies found guilty of wage theft from access to such contracts.
According to the Demos study, "Underwriting bad Jobs: How our Tax Dollars are Funding low-Wage Work and Fueling Inequality," "nearly two million private sector employees working on behalf of America earn wages too low to support a family, making $12 or less per hour. This is more than the number of low-wage workers at Walmart and McDonalds combined." One reason this matters, "When our tax dollars underwrite bad jobs, the economy as a whole is weakened and all of us are negatively affected."
MSNBC: Federal contractors strike, call on Obama to do more
The Nation: Federal Contractors Strike to Demand Higher Wages
Read Wednesday morning's Progressive Breakfast, or check back on the blog, for more on the "good jobs executive order," including video of Tuesday's demonstration.