Eleanor Holmes Norton

From the office of:

Eleanor Holmes Norton

Sending Office: Honorable Eleanor Holmes Norton
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Cosponsor the Low-Wage Federal Contractor Employee Back Pay Act of 2019

Cosponsors (52): Beyer, Blumenauer, Bonamici, Brown, Chu, Cicilline, Clarke, Clay, Connolly, Davids, DeLauro, Escobar, Eshoo, Gonzalez, Haaland, Jackson Lee, H. Johnson, Keating, Kelly, Kennedy, Khanna, Kilmer, B. Lee, Lewis, Lofgren, Lowenthal, Lujan, Maloney,
McEachin, McGovern, Meng, Moore, Moulton, Nadler, Omar, Pingree, Pocan, Pressley, Raskin, Rice, Ruppersberger, Sarbanes, Schakowsky, R. Scott, Serrano, Sires, Tlaib, Torres, Trahan, Trone, Watson Coleman, Wexton

Dear Colleague:

Please cosponsor the Low-Wage Federal Contractor Employee Back Pay Act (H.R. 339) to grant back pay to low-wage federally contracted retail, food, custodial and security service workers who are furloughed during the current and any other federal government
shutdown this fiscal year (fiscal year 2019).  After previous government shutdowns, federal workers have received back pay, but not federal contract workers, who often perform the same jobs as civil servants.  While I believe that all federal employees and
federal contract workers should receive back pay after a shutdown, we know that we cannot get Congress to make whole all who are hurt by a shutdown.  Therefore, our bill focuses specifically on low-wage federal contract workers, because these are the workers
most likely to be irretrievably hurt by lost wages during a shutdown.

Many federal contract workers earn little more than the minimum wage and receive few, if any, benefits.  While some are unionized with a slightly better wage, all are the lowest-paid workers in the federal government and should not be penalized because Congress
has failed to do its job to keep the government functioning.  Congress, historically, has provided back pay to federal employees furloughed during government shutdowns, who often work in the same buildings as these low-wage contract workers, but not to low-wage
contract workers.  However, both groups of workers deserve to be made whole after shutdowns.  I recognize, of course, that contract workers are employees of contractors, but the distinction between federal workers and, at least, the lowest-paid contract workers,
who, for example, keep buildings clean, fails when it comes to a deliberate government shutdown.  Unlike many other contractors, those who employ low-wage service workers have little latitude to help make up for lost wages.  Low-wage, federally contracted
service workers can least afford the loss of pay during a shutdown and should not have to go without back pay while everyone else in their federal buildings receives back pay.

I strongly urge your support for this bill.  If you would like to become a cosponsor or have any questions, please contact Trent Holbrook in my office at x5-8050 or


Eleanor Holmes Norton

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