WH: Obama will announce pay raise for federal contractor workers

Jan. 28, 2014 at 3:45 PM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 28 (UPI) -- U.S. President Obama will say in his State of the Union speech he's ordering a minimum wage increase for employees of federal contractors, the White House said.

"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 White House said in a statement Tuesday. "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 statement said workers "including janitors and construction workers" covered by new federal contracts -- as well as "military base workers who wash dishes, serve food and do laundry" -- will receive the higher minimum wage.

"Boosting wages will lower turnover and increase morale, and will lead to higher productivity overall," the statement said. "Raising wages for those at the bottom will improve the quality and efficiency of services provided to the government."

The statement noted polls indicated public support for raising the federal minimum wage.

"The president believes that it's time for action, and people across the country agree," the White House said. "Since the president called for an increase in the minimum wage in last year's State of the Union, five states have passed laws increasing their minimum wage. And many businesses, from small businesses to large corporations see higher wages as the right way to boost productivity and reduce turnover and therefore boost their profitability."

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