Low-Wage Federal Workers Walk Off Job Today

Food servers and janitorial workers at landmark federal buildings demand a living wage.

By Carla Murphy Jan 22, 2014

This morning, food servers and janitorial workers walked off their jobs at the Pentagon and other federal buildings in the District of Columbia. According to a press release from Good Jobs Nation, "a new organization of low-wage workers employed by government contractors," they are demanding that President Obama sign an executive order requiring companies contracting with the federal government to pay a living wage.

The federal government, according to a December 2012 Reuters investigation of federal contracting, "is one of the most potent factors driving income inequality in the United States – especially in the nation’s capital." The remarkable three-part series, which looks at how government exacerbates inequality nationwide, not just in capital, says, "The top 5 percent of households in Washington, D.C., made more than $500,000 on average [in 2011], while the bottom 20 percent earned less than $9,500 – a ratio of 54 to 1."

It’s not yet known the number of workers who’ve walked off their jobs* at five federal buildings, including the Pentagon for the first time.

Obama’s State of the Union address is next Tuesday, January 28. What do you hope he’ll say about income inequality?

UPDATE 2:11pm ET: Despite the sub-zero wind chills, organizer Joseph Geevarghese, deputy director of Change to Win, estimates that more than 120 workers at five facilities participated in this morning’s walkout. About 40 workers walked out for the first time at the Pentagon.