Federal Contractor Corporations Sue To Block Fair Pay Order

Dave Johnson

In 2014 President Obama issued the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order, requiring corporations that want federal government contracts to disclose if they have violated rules about treating their workers fairly — like rules against stealing their pay. The order also directs the government officers who issue these contracts to take these violations into account before awarding new contracts.

In other words, if a company commits wage theft, they’ll have a hard time getting federal contracts.

What Is The ‘Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order’?

July’s post, Obama’s ‘Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order,’ explained what the executive order accomplishes:

President Obama’s executive order cracks down on federal contractors who break hiring, health and safety, and wage laws. It also prohibits employers from requiring mandatory arbitration agreements with employees of federal contractors, in order that workers can get their day in an actual court instead of being forced to appear in front of an arbitrator picked and paid for by the company when there is a dispute involving the Civil Rights Act or related to sexual assault or harassment.

Specifically, the new rules require companies that bid on federal contracts to disclose wage and hour, safety and health, collective bargaining, family and medical leave, and civil rights violations from the prior three years. Federal contractor hiring officers are to take serious violations into account before awarding contracts. These officers will be issued guidelines on whether certain violations “rise to the level of a lack of integrity or business ethics.”…

…This will make a difference to a lot of people. There are approximately 24,000 businesses with federal contracts. These contractors employ around 28 million workers. The new rules will phase in as new contracts are awarded, beginning in 2016.

On August 25, 2016 the Department of Labor (DOL) and the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council (FAR Council) issued the final rules and guidance implementing the Executive Order, with the new rules phasing in beginning October 25, 2016.

This all sounds great right? Who could possibly be against efforts to stop companies from wage theft?

Federal Contractor Lobbyists Suing To Block The New Rules

This last Friday, “trade associations” (lobbyists) working for federal contractors filed a lawsuit to block the new rules from going into effect, calling the new rules a “cumbersome and burdensome new regulatory regime.”

Good Jobs Nation is a coalition of organizations representing over 2 million federal contract workers who are calling on the President to end the U.S. Government’s role as America’s #1 poverty job creator. Joseph Geevarghese, an attorney and director of Good Jobs Nation, called this attempt to undermine rules protecting workers from wage theft “criminal”:

It’s criminal that federal contractors are attempting to undermine the President’s legal authority to deny taxpayer dollars to companies that routinely break U.S. laws. Federal contractors filed this lawsuit simply to escape accountability for violating the legal rights of low-wage workers. If corporate lobbyists succeed in delaying the President’s executive order, workers will continue to be victimized by unscrupulous federal contractors.

Help Stop The Lawsuit

Good Jobs Nation has launched a petition demanding they withdraw this lawsuit. Please click here to add your name in support of the people who work for federal contractors.

The petition says,

Wage theft on federal contracts is a national epidemic according to investigations by the U.S. Senate and Government Accountability Office.

In Washington DC alone, Good Jobs Nation filed over 30 legal complaints with the US Department of Labor to help 1500 workers to recover over $5 million dollars in stolen wages at the US Senate, Pentagon and other national landmarks.

To protect these vulnerable workers, President Obama signed the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order to stop wage theft and other legal violations on federal contracts.

But now lobbyists for powerful federal contractors filed a lawsuit to block the Executive Order from being implemented.


Once again, please click here to add your name in support of the people who work for federal contractors.

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