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The PJ Tatler

by
Bridget Johnson

Bio

January 28, 2014 - 6:55 am

On the day of his State of the Union address, President Obama will mark his “Year of Action: Making Progress Through Executive Action” by signing an executive order raising the minimum wage to $10.10 for federal contract workers.

His action comes days after about 50 food court and janitorial workers at the Pentagon went on a union-organized one-day strike, protesting outside the Defense Department that their wages — averaging about $9 an hour for the fast-food chains housed within the building — were too low. Groups organizing the walkout included the Teamsters, United Food and Commercial Workers and the NAACP.

“The President wants to work with Congress to pass the Harkin-Miller bill that would increase the Federal minimum wage to $10.10 and index it to inflation thereafter, and he will continue to work with Congress to get that done. The President has also looked at what he can do through executive action to help raise wages for hardworking Americans. In the State of the Union Address, the President will announce that he will use his executive authority to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 for those working on new federal contracts for services,” the White House said this morning.

“This action will cover workers who are performing services or construction and are getting paid less than $10.10 an hour.  Some examples of the hardworking people who would benefit from an EO include military base workers who wash dishes, serve food and do laundry.”

The increase is applicable to new contracts forged after the order is signed, “so contractors will have time to prepare and price their bids accordingly.”

The White House contended that the move will result in better contracting services with lower turnover and higher morale. “When Maryland passed its living wage law for companies contracting with the state, there was an increase in the number of contractors bidding and higher competition can help ensure better quality.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and 14 colleagues sent Obama a letter in September urging that he issue an executive order to set the federal contractors’ minimum wage at $10.10, but the president waited until the day of his big speech on income inequality.

“I applaud President Obama for issuing this executive order which will raise wages for hundreds of thousands of low-wage workers,” Sanders said this morning. “The president has made it clear that employees working for government contractors should not be paid starvation wages. This executive order also gives us momentum for raising the minimum wage for every worker in this country to at least $10.10 an hour.”

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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Top Rated Comments   
"...military base workers who wash dishes, serve food and do laundry.”"

Solders used to do those jobs on post. It is probably time to go back to soldiers doing those jobs on post, seeing as how the Federal Workers went on an illegal strike and the Administration used the political theater to reward them, instead of firing them for breaking the law.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Juxtapose this with the DOD cuts and the closures of the Commissaries, that often employ Military family members and that allows retirees and others to bag groceries for tips, to help keep costs low for those military families that rely on low Commissary prices to help their budgets.

They are happy to fire hundreds, if not thousands of low wage Commissary employees to suck up to the Unions in giving $10.00/hr to Federal McDonalds Workers in the Food Court.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (15)
All Comments   (15)
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I'm waiting for the executive order that will eliminate his pensions and banish him to Kenya.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Is anyone making people work at low paying jobs? Sure, I've worked them before. You cut back on expenses, watch TV with rabbit ear antennas, eat peanut butter for a year until you can find something better. Then you show up on time and work. Sometime you work sick or tired. Sometimes you miss out on great stuff because you have to work. And if the new job isn't good enough, you find something better. Moaning because you have a pointless job that doesn't pay enough doesn't get any sympathy from me—I bet I've done worse for less. Now I get to turn down recruiters and head-hunters, because instead of moaning and whining years ago, I worked.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
So, where is the Bamster going to get the money for these raises?

Revenue spending bills start in the House of Representatives - not the Oval Office.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
He'll write and approve his own spending bill....
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Ahh, yes, another hit on the tax payers. Not only will direct costs (wages) go up, but the "overhead and profit" for these contracts often run near 200%. Right into the hands of large corporations that support the administration. More free money for all. Win-win (except for, you know, us).
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
This may be the first of a salvo of executive orders that will give us the middle-finger. Ruling by fiat is now a reality ... Obama has nothing left to do but go for broke. There are so many solid reasons to impeach Obama that it's
scary ... even scarier though is the unveiling of an establishment DC that concurs with an anti-constitutional power grab.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
My husband has reached an age when he could retire. We have done all that we can to prepare for retirement. The two uncertainties that trouble me most are the probability of greater inflation and the healthcare mess. I do not know how typical we are, but I am pretty sure these issues will keep him in the workforce longer. I do not see how a higher minimum wage, which will raise other wages as well, can help but raise the price of necessities, particularly food.

Therefore these two issues, both a direct consequence of Obama policies, will likely cause many near-retirement age workers to stay in the workforce longer. This will continue to depress job opportunities for younger workers.

This will probably increase automation and outsourcing as well.

This may be about throwing a bone to union workers, but it is going to make things much more difficult for seniors and young workers with few skills.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
“When Maryland passed its living wage law for companies contracting with the state, there was an increase in the number of contractors bidding and higher competition can help ensure better quality.”


Yes, because the low-skilled workers were cut out of the equation. The higher rate attracted higher skilled workers leaving those trying to develop good working skills and reputations out of luck. Nice, hit the most vulnerable, and dare we point out, a lot of minorities who were betrayed by the inner city schools.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
All this does is raise the cost of the contracts to the federal agencies. Without a commiserate increase in the agency funding, the agencies will have to cutback elsewhere to pay the new costs.

And why the delay? Why not order the minimum wage increase to all federal contracts, even those currently in force? That would require a lot of change orders but do able. The government issues the new requirement, the contractor supplies the cost increase, the contracting officer issues the order, the agency allocates money to cover the increased contract costs.

Oh, that's right, that would see the costs hit the 2014 budget cycle just when the mid-terms are hitting high season.

30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
The pay rate of many Union collective bargaining agreements is based on the Federal minimum wage. This means that cash strapped States, Cities and Counties will HAVE to spend yet more money to pay the Union leeches to suck at their jobs.

Obama just gave a pay raise for ALL Union Employees under those agreements by raising the minimum wage unilaterally.

All the while slashing the COLA of military retirees and closing the Commissaries, where the families of the military shop to save money.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Correction Dogula; they are union workers contracted to the US government, and most likely Democrat voters. Government employment is becoming one big welfare project.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
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