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This week, members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus again called on President Obama to issue an executive order that would give federal contract award preference to companies that pay their employees above the minimum wage, as well as provide paid leave, full-time work, and predictable schedules. A so-called "model employer" executive order would build on previous Obama administration actions that have targeted federal contractors. Those actions include an executive order issued last year that will progressively raise the minimum wage for federal contract workers to $10.10 per hour and the "Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces" executive order, which will aggrandize the authority contracting officers have to suspend and debar federal contractors for past labor law violations. While the Caucus has not made the details of the model employer executive order available, a network of progressive organizations highly influential with the caucus provides the following description of such an order in a report titled, "More than the Minimum: The President's Unfinished Agenda:"
In all decisions to award contracts and other competitively selected government funds and benefits, preference should be given to model employers—that is firms that offer a livable wage of at least $15 an hour and decent benefits, including health insurance and leave for sickness and care giving, and provide full-time hours as well as fair and stable work schedules.
The Caucus also argues that a fourth executive order should specifically require contractors to ensure collective bargaining rights for contractor employees. The Caucus's call coincided with nationwide protests this week demanding a $15 minimum wage, which called for restaurant workers to walk off the job in an estimated 230 cities.