Calls on President to support identical increase for federal hourly workers
WASHINGTON – American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr. today applauded President Obama’s decision to increase the minimum wage for federal contract workers, but he called on Obama to support legislation that would extend the increase to the government’s own employees who earn similar – if not lower – wages.
“President Obama’s decision to increase the minimum wage for federal contract employees to $10.10 an hour is a good one. But if the president is to have any credibility in talking about living wages, he needs to get his own house in order first and do everything in his power to establish $10.10 as the minimum wage for all federal hourly workers,” Cox said.
Federal employees who work in many VA hospitals and military facilities support our veterans and military mission but are not earning enough to get by. Their wages are less than $10.10 an hour and were frozen for three years. The meager 1% pay raise passed this month didn’t come close to bringing hourly workers up to the standards that the administration is establishing for contractor employees.
As important as higher hourly wages are for employees of government contractors, most still lack any employer support for health insurance or retirement benefits and offer little to nothing in the way of sick leave or other paid time off.
“It would be far better policy for the government to bring this work in house, take contractor profits out of the equation, and provide the workforce with decent pay and benefits,” Cox said. “Keeping this work contracted out keeps in place a system of low wages and no benefits that has become the rule for so many private-sector employers.”
The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) is the largest federal employee union, representing 670,000 workers in the federal government and the government of the District of Columbia.