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Holiday Season is a Tough Time for Low-Wage Federal Contractors

Washington Post

’Tis the season to be jolly.

But not for everyone.

Happiness is a lot easier for those paid a fair wage, which apparently is not what many federal contractor employees get.

In a complaint filed Monday with the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) said the Lionel Henderson Corp. “has misclassified and underpays workers” who are customer service representatives for the National Flood Insurance Program.

It’s called “wage theft” and Henderson is not alone as an alleged wage thief.

  • Government Accountability Office (GAO) investigation in 2010 said “the federal government has awarded contracts to companies that had been cited for large back-wage liabilities by Labor.”
  • A report released Monday by Demos, a public policy organization based in New York, said “approximately 40 percent of all federal contracting dollars in 2013 went to contractors with health, safety or wage violations on their record” and “Americans working for federal contractors lose up to $2.5 billion each year to violations of minimum wage laws alone.”
  • Good Jobs Nation, a campaign on behalf of low-wage federal contract workers that is supported by community and labor organizations, says it has recovered $5 million in back wages for 1,500 federal contract workers over the last three years.[...]

[Representative Keith (D-Minn.)] Ellison said the Demos report shows “millions of Americans are having their wages stolen from them. Working people, trying to put food on the table and keep the lights on, are getting paid less than what they are owed. That’s appalling. It’s shameful.”

If Trump tears up the “Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces” executive order,” Ellison added, “this problem will only get worse for workers across the country.”