Protest Raises Questions About Contract Workers of Legislative Branch

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Labor issues came to Capitol Hill Tuesday, as federal contractors protested wages at Union Station and members of Congress used the opportunity to discuss workers’ rights among contractors and employees in the legislative branch.

About 100 federal contractors who work minimum wage jobs at Union Station, Ronald Reagan National Airport, the National Zoo and the Pentagon marched through Columbus Circle on Tuesday morning waving picket signs and flags.

“These courageous workers have gone on strike nine times,” said Rev. Michael Livingston, national policy director and head of the Washington, D.C., office for Interfaith Worker Justice. The people waving white and blue flags behind his lectern were predominantly women, many dressed like Rosie the Riveter in red bandanas and starched blue shirts and holding the hands of toddlers who marched alongside their working moms.

“Workers need more than a minimum wage executive order,” Livingston yelled into a bullhorn. “Workers need a ‘good jobs’ executive order,” he said, referring to a proposal being pushed by the Congressional Progressive Caucus that would expand workers’ legal protections, identify and track violations and favor employers that offer living wages, full benefits and collective bargaining.

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