Strike Wave Spurs Obama to Make Contractors Pay $10.10

January 28, 2014 | | Salon |

Low-wage, federally-contracted janitors and construction workers will have a new minimum wage of $10.10 per hour, under an executive order announced by the White House Tuesday. Advocates said the full scope of the order, which will be formally announced during tonight’s State of the Union address, remains unclear, but could include hundreds of thousands of employees under future federal contracts. [...]

“I think the president has realized that he’s one of the only people in Washington who has the power both the power and the will to do something on behalf of people who don’t belong to the donor class,” said Demos President Heather McGhee, whose think tank has backed the workers’ demands. A Demos report released at the start of the Good Jobs Nation effort pegged the number of taxpayer-backed jobs paying no more than $12 (a broader category than that covered by Obama’s order) at 2 million. What had been “an inside game with the White House task force and lawyers and all that,” argued McGhee, was transformed into “an outside game…most importantly through workers themselves willing to put their meager day’s pay on the line to strike for something better for their families.”

“Basically,” said McGhee, “this is the president saying, as sort of America’s chief employer: I’m going to do my part. Now it’s Congress’ turn to do their part for the rest of America’s underpaid workforce.”

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