In the wake of the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, we strongly urge Congress to swiftly pass legislation that would provide back pay to government contract employees.
Some 1 million federal contract workers were furloughed or laid off during the record-breaking 35-day shutdown. These men and women work side by side with federal workers performing jobs that are absolutely vital to the government and to the people of the United States. To many of these federal contract workers and their families, the impact of this pointless shutdown has been crippling. Through no fault of their own, many of these families are facing the reality of missing payments on their mortgages, tuition, car and student loans, health care, child care and so many other expenses. Contract workers and their families should not suffer the consequences of a shutdown they had no hand in creating.
We applaud Reps. Donald Norcross and Chris Smith of New Jersey for introducing the bipartisan Fairness for Federal Contractors Act (H.R. 824). This legislation would instruct federal agencies to work with federal contractors to ensure back pay is granted (up to a maximum of $1,400 per week) to all impacted contract workers. After past shutdowns, contract employees generally have not received any back pay for lost wages. The AFL-CIO will fight to ensure that these workers are not left out in the cold this time.
Congress recently passed legislation granting back pay to federal government workers impacted by the shutdown. Now it is time to take these same steps on behalf of impacted government contract workers.