The fight for $15 is raging on around the country, and AFGE is taking the issue to the federal government. The union is urging the federal government to lead by example by raising the minimum wage for tens of thousands of federal and D.C. government employees who make less than $15 an hour.
The workers performing these low-paid jobs are just as vital to the mission of their agencies as everyone else. They are nursing assistants at our veterans’ hospitals, food service workers at our commissaries, and maintenance workers at our military bases. They are supporting our country, yet they are unable to support themselves and their families on the paltry wages they earn from the government.
The federal government should follow the lead of city leaders in Los Angeles who this week voted to increase the minimum wage for municipal employees to $15 an hour over the next five years, joining three other cities that have enacted a $15 minimum wage in the past year. The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour.
Last year, President Barack Obama issued an executive order raising the minimum wage for federal contract workers to $10.10 an hour, yet the administration has resisted calls to support even that modest increase for the government’s own workers.
AFGE and other labor unions on the Federal Prevailing Rate Advisory Committee made a proposal that the White House support increasing the minimum wage for hourly federal employees to $10.10 an hour. But the proposal died due to opposition from management representatives on the committee.