Obama to Raise Minimum Wage Under Federal Contractors

January 28, 2014 | | New York Times |

President Obama plans to sign an executive order requiring that janitors, construction workers and others working for federal contractors be paid at least $10.10 an hour, using his own power to enact a more limited version of a policy that he has yet to push through Congress.

The order, which Mr. Obama will highlight in his annual State of the Union address on Tuesday night, is meant to underscore an increasing willingness by the president to bypass Congress if lawmakers continue to resist his agenda, aides said. After a year in which most of his legislative priorities went nowhere, Mr. Obama is seeking ways to make progress despite a lack of cooperation on Capitol Hill. [...]

As a prod to lawmakers, Mr. Obama plans to announce his plan to sign the executive order directing federal contractors to pay higher wages. The new rule will apply only to new federal contracts or in cases where contracts are renegotiated with new conditions.

White House officials offered no estimate of how many workers would actually be affected either immediately or as contracts are signed and renegotiated over time. A study by Demos, an organization that seeks to reduce corporate influence in politics, estimated that 560,000 people working for federal contractors make $12 an hour or less.

Read Demos' Response: Demos Hails President Obama's Decision To Use Executive Authority to Raise The Pay of Federal Contract Workers