Labor Secretary Responds to Federal Contract Workers Demands

By Carla Murphy Jun 13, 2014

The Department of Labor moved yesterday to implement President Obama’s executive order increasing the wage floor for federal contract workers to $10.10 beginning Jan 2015. While some workers are pleased, others are not. The new agency rule came as more than 200 self-identified worker leaders represented by Good Jobs Nation yesterday described $10.10 as poverty wages. Instead, they’re calling on the administration to require that contractors engage in collective bargaining with workers in return for a commitment not to strike. Yesterday’s action for low-wage federal employees signals growing momentum for an across-the-board increase in the federal minimum wage, although many disagree as to how much. A CNN poll cited on the labor secretary’s blog says that more than 70 percent of Americans favor a wage hike–but less than 40 percent think $10.10 is the right number.

When asked about Good Jobs Nation demands, The Wall Street Journal reports that labor secretary Thomas Perez said collective bargaining is not part of the February executive order and is therefore not a part of yesterday’s proposed rule. According to the Journal, Perez didn’t answer whether the issue of collective bargaining is under discussion at the labor department.

Obama’s new $10.10 minimum wage, according to Perez, will impact 200,000 federal workers.