Tyrika Meade started working at the sunglass stand in Union Station six weeks ago. She said she earns $8.25 an hour on an irregular schedule.
"I like the job but the pay is just not right," Meade, 19, said in an interview.
So she joined an estimated 150 workers striking Tuesday to protest low wages at workplaces that are funded by federal contracts.[...]
A recent report from the left-leaning think tank Demos found that many of the jobs created by federal contracts in food and janitorial services and retail don't provide a living wage or benefits. Entitled "Underwriting Bad Jobs," the report said taxpayers end up funding the high salaries of executives at companies with federal contracts, even though those companies often pay poverty wages to their rank-and-file employees.
“Most Americans would be surprised to learn that so many of the people working on behalf of America are really poorly paid and aren’t really earning enough to support a family,” Amy Traub, a senior policy analyst at Demos, recently told The Huffington Post. “Taxpayers have some responsibility for these people. They’re working for us in a sense.”
Congressional Democrats on Tuesday afternoon are following up on the report with an ad-hoc hearing to examine federally-backed low-wage work.