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Shutdown Deal Omits Back Pay for Federal Contractors

February 14, 2019

By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel

WASHINGTON—The federal spending deal passed Feb. 14 to avert another shutdown of federal agencies does not include back pay for more than a million employees of federal contractors, who lost five weeks of income during the shutdown in December and January. A Trump administration official told the Huffington Post that it would cost too much and there would be a high risk of erroneous payments and fraud. The unpaid contractors range from custodians and food-service workers in federal buildings to space-program electricians and engineers. “If they don’t get it, a large portion of their annual income is just gone with no hope of getting it back,” Edward Grabowski, president of International Association of Machinists Local 2061, which represents about 600 space-program workers in Florida, told the Orlando Sentinel. “The rejection of federal contract worker back pay by the GOP leadership in this funding deal is outrageous and unfair,” said Machinists President Robert Martinez, Jr. Two back-pay bills have been introduced in Congress: One, sponsored by Rep. Donald Norcross’ (D-N.J.), would give contractors retroactive pay of up to $1,400 a week, while the other, by Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.) would provide up to $965 a week. Read more

February 14, 2019

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