October 3, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Washington, DC – Labor unions and lawmakers are urging the Obama administration to issue an executive order that would require federal contractors to let their workers unionize, in exchange for a no-strike pledge.
A order setting “model employer” standards might also require that agencies favor hiring contractors that pay workers at least $15 an hour and provide health insurance and stable full-time schedules. “We’re all looking at that,” Bill Samuel, government affairs director for the AFL-CIO, told Bloomberg BNA. “It’s certainly our goal that the government should be an employer that raises living standards, and improves quality of life for working families.” The Democrats’ 2016 platform explicitly backs such a model-employer order. The Obama administration is less enthusiastic, with one official saying it “is not something the Administration is considering at this time.” Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) said discussions are happening, but the prospect of an order is “speculative at this point.” Contractor groups have vowed to challenge any such executive order. The liberal think tank Demos says it would help about 8 million low-wage federal contract workers. Read more