If Obama snaps his fingers, half a million workers could get a raise

In the fight to raise the minimum wage, the Tea Party’s stranglehold on Congress remains the single biggest obstacle.

But did you know that with the stroke of a pen President Obama could bypass the Tea Party and raise the minimum wage for as many as half a million workers right now?

The President could use an executive order to raise the minimum wage for employees of businesses that receive federal contracts – and reports are that he is seriously considering the proposal. [1]

Tell President Obama to announce that he will raise the minimum wage for federally contracted workers in his State of the Union Address tomorrow.

Right now hundreds of billions of our tax dollars go to companies that hire cafeteria workers, janitors and security guards who work on behalf of all of us. We’ve come to expect low pay and poor treatment of workers at Walmart and McDonald’s. That’s why we support the workers fighting for higher wages and a union. But it’s surprising to learn this about the federal government: seventy percent of service workers employed by federal contractors make below $10 an hour.

In total, the United States Government is responsible for more low-wage jobs than Walmart and McDonald’s combined. [2]

Instead of subsidizing the low-wage economy, President Obama has a chance to use federal dollars to force companies to start paying their employees a decent wage. Even better, raising the wage for these employees would build serious momentum for the Fair Minimum Wage Act.

President Obama has repeatedly said that he wants to raise the minimum wage. Tea Party Republicans and even some corporate Democrats have opposed him. But tomorrow, he has a chance to sidestep all this obstructionism and get something done for low-wage workers.

Let’s give him thousands of more reasons to take this common-sense step: Ask President Obama to commit to raising the wage for federally contracted workers in his State of the Union Address.