Letter Urging Backpay for Federal Contract Workers

The Honorable Mitch McConnell
The Honorable Charles Schumer
The Honorable Richard Shelby
The Honorable Patrick Leahy
The Honorable Ron Johnson
The Honorable Gary Peters
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
The Honorable Kevin McCarthy
The Honorable Nita Lowey
The Honorable Kay Granger
The Honorable Elijah Cummings
The Honorable Jim Jordan
United States House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Members of Congress:

The undersigned organizations write in support of efforts to secure back pay for employees of federal contractors who were unpaid during the recent government shutdown.   Just as Congress rightly provided back pay for federal employees who were furloughed or unpaid during the shutdown, Congress should also provide back pay for the contract employees who face extreme financial hardship as a result of going over a month without their paychecks.

Over the past few decades, the federal government has contracted out more and more of the jobs and functions federal employees once performed.   For every federal worker hired, there are almost two more contract workers hired, for a total of about 3.7 million according to 2015 estimates from the Volcker Alliance.  These jobs include the women and men who clean federal buildings, staff cafeterias and concession stands, process payments, and provide vital tech support to federal agencies.

These federal contract workers help keep our nation running, even if their paychecks aren’t cut directly by the U.S. government, and they need their paychecks just as badly as federal employees and deserve the same considerations when the government shuts down.

 As Congress negotiates a deal to secure funding for the rest of the fiscal year, we urge you to do everything within your power to provide back pay for the contract workers throughout this country who have suffered just as grave a financial injury as federal employees did during this shutdown.  Equity demands that they too be made whole for the injuries they suffered.

A Better Balance
Amara Legal Center
Autistic Self Advocacy Network
Center for American Progress
Center for Law and Social Policy
Center for Progressive Reform
Child Care Law Center
Coalition on Human Needs
Community Labor United
DC Bar Pro Bono Center
Equal Rights Advocates
Futures Without Violence
Hill Snowden Foundation
Interfaith Worker Justice
Interfaith Worker Justice San Diego
International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers
International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace, and Agricultural Implement Workers of America, UAW
Jobs With Justice
Main Street Alliance
Mississippi Workers’ Center for Human Rights
National Council of Jewish Women
National Nurses United
National Partnership for Women & Families
National Women's Law Center
Oxfam America
Policy Matters Ohio
SafeWork Washington
Service Employees International Union
The United Methodist Church – General Board of Church and Society
Voices for Progress
West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy
Women Employed
Women’s All Points Bulletin, WAPB