Skip to Main

January 8, 2019

Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley Co-Sponsors Legislation to Ensure Back Pay for Federal Contractors Impacted by Government Shutdown

Washington, D.C., January 8, 2019 — Today, as the partial government shutdown enters its 18th day, Representative Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), in partnership with Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) and their colleagues, introduced legislation to ensure that federal contract service workers – including food service, custodial, and security professionals – receive back pay for wages lost during the ongoing shutdown.

Over the weekend, Congresswoman Pressley sent a letter to Congressional leaders in the House and Senate, urging them to ensure that “any final funding agreement includes retroactive compensation for the thousands of low-wage government contract service workers that have had their lives put on hold as a result of President Trump’s obsession to fund a xenophobic hate wall.” Currently, contract service workers are not entitled to back pay because they work for third-party government contractors.

“The ongoing government shutdown – a crisis created by the Trump Administration in pursuit of a ‘monument to hate’ that will do nothing to make our country safer – is threatening the livelihoods of more than 800,000 federal workers, none more so than contract service workers, many of whom work on an hourly basis, for low wages, and currently have no prospect of recouping wages lost as a result of the shutdown,” said Representative Pressley. “My Democratic colleagues and I are committed to ending the shutdown – on the first day on the job, we voted to reopen the government. We must ensure that contract services workers, many of whom are living paycheck to paycheck, are able to recover their lost wages. That why I’m proud to be an original cosponsor of the Low-Wage Federal Contractor Employee Back Pay Act of 2019.”

The legislation would require any federal contractor that has put low-wage workers on unpaid leave during the shutdown to provide retroactive compensation to cover wages lost over the duration of the shutdown. The bill specifies “low-wage workers” to include retail, food, custodial or security services.

Other original co-sponsors of the bill include Representatives Don Beyer (D-VA), Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Ro Khanna (D-CA), Grace Meng (D-NY), Gwen Moore (D-WI), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Lori Trahan (D-MA), David Trone (D- MD) and Jennifer Wexton (D-VA)

Later this afternoon, Congresswoman Pressley will make a brief statement on the House floor regarding the shutdown and its impact on children, workers, and families in our communities.