Ralph Nader Urges President Obama to Sign Executive Order Guaranteeing Federal Contractors $10.70 Minimum Wage

June 26, 2013

On June 25, Ralph Nader penned a letter to President Obama, urging him to sign an executive order 7Stories/Nader PB mech.that will guarantee federal employees (including those employed through contractors) a $10.70 minimum wage. This pay increase would catch them up to the minimum wage of 1968, adjusted for inflation.

In the United States today, thirty million low-wage workers are making less money per hour than they did under President Franklin Delano Roosevelt 45 years ago. If the federal minimum wage had kept up with the pace of inflation since then, it would be $10.70 per hour today rather than the current $7.25.

Nader points out that “while the minimum wage has lost nearly a third of its inflation-adjusted value, costs for daily necessities have been increasing – often at rates above inflation.” This poses a serious problem, and in late May it led to a strike by federally contracted low-wage workers in Washington, D.C. Some of these strikers, in spite of their status as contractors for the federal government, were being paid below the federal minimum wage. Nader calls this “disgraceful,” and notes that “the federal government should be providing a shining example of fair and just treatment of their workers for other employers to follow.”

A report from Demos revealed that the federal government employs the largest number of low-wage workers in the United States, often indirectly through contractors. This staggering number of low-wage workers exceeds that of Walmart and McDonalds combined. Nader incites President Obama to act on this issue, “to show Americans what type of President [he] wants to be remembered as.”

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