On May 15, 2015, a group of Democratic Senators sent a letter to President Obama, urging him to provide incentives to federal contractors to become what they call “model employers.” According to the letter, model employers are contractors who provide “a living wage, offer fair healthcare and retirement benefits, grant paid leave for sickness and care-giving, provide full-time hours and stable schedules, and give workers a voice through collective bargaining ….”
This push comes exactly one month after members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (“CPC”), a group of House Democrats, made identical requests of President Obama. The CPC is the same group that advocated raising the minimum wage for employees of federal contractors to $10.10 per hour and for the recent Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order. While the May 15 letter did not set a specific benchmark of fair wages, the CPC has advocated that workers should make at least $15.00 an hour, a view that is echoed by Good Jobs Nation, the labor organization leading the charge for model employer incentives. The May 15 letter states that currently “taxpayers are double-billed – once for the cost of the contract and then again for the cost of public programs like food stamps and Medicaid” upon which many employees of contractors rely. The Senators, the CPC, and Good Jobs Nation believe that incentivizing model employers will increase the quality of life for employees of federal contractors and, accordingly, decrease the reliance on federal subsidies.