Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order


During the past several decades, labor advocates have worked hard to enact policies and laws protecting workers – especially with contractors receiving federal money. Each of these victories was an excellent reason to celebrate, however, we now know that despite the passage of these laws, they have not been enforced for these federal contractors. In order to rectify this situation, President Obama recently signed the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order.

We need to take action to ensure that this Order is upheld! We need comments submitted to the Department of Labor by August 26. Because this process is complicated, OTI is collecting comments which we will submit as a group. Please send your comments to us before 9:00 am on Tuesday, August 25!

The executive order is backed by unions and will ultimately protect all workers by setting compliance standards and practices for laws that already exist. Currently, the federal government is awarding contracts to contractors who are known to have violated labor laws – and this practice needs to end. Violating contractors have received over $81 billion in contracts, despite violating labor laws more than 1,800 times.

“Today, President Obama took a stand for American workers by signing an executive order that will promote fairer and safer workplaces for employees of government contractors. While many federal contractors already play by the rules and try to treat their workers fairly, thousands of hard-working Americans end up being denied the pay they deserve, or being exposed to health and safety risks, because some contractors insist on cutting corners in the name of profits.” – Leo W. Gerard, International President of the United Steelworker Union

We are encouraging tradeswomen to submit their comments, to make their voices heard in support of government actions that improve the lives of working people, deliver superior construction projects to the public, and ensure that contractors have a fair playing field.

While the executive order extensively covers many aspects of labor law, we are highlighting just a few:

  • Paycheck transparency – specifically showing hourly rates used to calculate payments so that workers can more easily identify when wage theft is happening
  • Strengthens protections against discrimination by not allowing contractors to force mediation as the primary solution to discrimination complaints
  • Requiring contractors to reveal labor law violations when bidding for contracts
  • Strengthening collective bargaining

Your comments will be most effective when you highlight your own personal experience in the industry. The National Women’s Law Center and the AFL-CIO Building Trades are encouraging comments specifically demonstrating the importance of the paycheck transparency and any evidence folks have about how law abiding contractors perform better on projects.


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