Democrats are planning a yearlong campaign against economic inequality as the midterm elections approach, and President Obama will kick it off in earnest Wednesday when he signs an executive order raising the contracting standards for workers on federal contracts. Over300,000 future federal workers who would have made less than $10.10 an hour will now receive at least that.
The move is significant for a few reasons, the first being the obvious matter of fairness for these contract workers. The federal government, through contracting, employs millions of low-wage workers in a variety of large and small industries, as this chart from the think tank Demos shows:
[...] The order will unfortunately not affect workers on current federal contracts, though White House officials believe changing their wages immediately would be impossible. The Procurement Act allows the president to modify contracting standards as long as the changes are both economic and efficient, and senior White House officials told The Nationthat forcing changes to already signed contracts would likely violate that standard and provoke legal challenges.