Attorney General Tong Calls for Federal Contract Workers to Receive Fair Wages
AG Tong Joins Coalition Filing Briefs Supporting $15 Minimum Wage for Federal Contract Workers(Hartford, CT) -- Attorney General William Tong joined a coalition of attorneys general supporting the federal government’s actions to increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour for certain federal contractors. The policy was first enacted by presidential executive order in April 2021, and then implemented by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) in November 2021 in the final rule, “Increasing the Minimum Wage for Federal Contract Workers.”
The coalition submitted amicus briefs in Arizona v. Walsh, Texas v. Biden, and Bradford v. U.S. Department of Labor, three lawsuits challenging the DOL’s authority to increase the minimum wage paid to federal contract workers. The states argue that both the president and the DOL acted well within their authority when implementing the policies to ensure federal contract workers are paid fair living wages. In addition, the attorneys general argue that such policies benefit workers, employers and consumers around the country.
“Working Americans should not live in poverty. That’s why we have adopted a $15 minimum wage here in Connecticut, and that’s why the Biden administration increased the minimum wage for federal contract workers. The Department of Labor was well within its legal authority to apply this important measure to all federal contract workers,” said Attorney General Tong.
At issue in the underlying lawsuits is an executive order and follow-up rule increasing the minimum wage for certain federal contractors, which had been set at $10.10 per hour since 2014. In addition to increasing the minimum wage to $15 per hour, the executive order and rule rescinded an exception created in 2018, which exempted federal contractors who provide seasonal recreational services and equipment – such as recreational outfitters operating on federal land – from the minimum age requirements. The rule has since been challenged in court by state coalitions led by Texas and Arizona, as well as a number of businesses that provide seasonal recreational services on federal land.
In its briefs, the coalition points to the ways an increased minimum wage benefits employers, employees and consumers. The briefs cite studies and reports demonstrating that an increased minimum wage leads to improved morale and productivity, reduced turnover and absenteeism, as well as improved income equality and decreased poverty for federal contractual workers. Those benefits in turn, lead to improved service and enhanced consumer experiences.
Copies of the briefs can be found here.