NELP Commends the President’s Fair Pay Executive Order

Following is a statement from National Employment Law Project (NELP) Executive Director Christine Owens:

“The Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order that President Obama signed today is good for workers, good for law-abiding employers, and good for America’s taxpayers. Requiring companies to disclose their recent compliance with labor and employment laws and allowing agencies to consider those records in the bid process will better ensure that companies receiving taxpayer-funded contracts actually satisfy our nation’s basic wage and workplace standards. Formal consideration of compliance records in the bidding process will also level the playing field between bidders, reducing the ability of bottom-feeders to shortchange their employees in order to gain an unfair advantage over law-abiding competitors. And incentivizing federal contractors to obey the law protects taxpayers’ interest in ensuring that their tax dollars do not underwrite illegal conduct such as wage theft, health and safety violations, and other unlawful practices that are not only inconsistent with our values but ultimately shift greater costs onto the American public.

“The National Employment Law Project commends the President for his leadership in signing this executive order. In doing so, President Obama is helping to ensure that federal contracting dollars are spent responsibly and result in good investments in high-road employers and their employees. These are precisely the investments we need to rebuild a robust and sustainable economy that works for all of America’s working families—and they are the investments that taxpayers funding these contracts deserve.

“Other elements of the executive order are also commendable, including the designation of dedicated staff within each agency to put real teeth in the process of integrating information about compliance records into the bidding process; the role envisioned for the Department of Labor; the ban on mandatory arbitration in cases involving sex discrimination or sexual misconduct; and the requirement that contractors provide basic payroll information, including wages and hours worked, to their employees. While we believe that all workers are entitled to paycheck transparency, we applaud President Obama for doing what he is empowered to do now, extending this basic protection—one that many of us take for granted—to employees of federal contractors.

“America’s workers and their families and communities would be even better off if Congress took the steps it alone can take to raise wages at the bottom of the labor market, support the creation of good jobs, ban job discrimination and remove barriers to employment, help the long-term unemployed, and restore the right of all workers to organize into unions and bargain collectively. At moments in our history when the American people and America’s leaders have worked together in a bi-partisan fashion to advance these cornerstone principles, our economy and our democracy have thrived. That’s what America’s working families need today, and NELP commends President Obama for the steps he has taken, within his executive authority, to advance these important goals. It’s time for Republican leaders who have been blocking such efforts to find the will to act in the interests of America’s working families.”

Emma Stieglitz
(646) 200-5307

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