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Strike at Ronald Reagan Building and Old Post Office Pavilion Aims to Force Obama’s Hand on Federal Level Wage Abuse

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At 8:30 this morning non-union workers contracted through the federal government at at the Ronald Reagan Building and the Old Post Office Pavilion in Washington D.C. walked off the job to protest low wages and labor law violations.  The one-day strike is organized by Good Jobs Nation, a campaign of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).  

The protest will also feature a “mock trial” and other civil disobedience actions. Organizers and protesters hope the action will put pressure on President Obama to make good on his 2010 promise to require higher labor standards for federal contractors.

Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison, co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, told The Nation:

“I think what’s preventing him is the people he puts around him…If [GE CEO] Jeff Immelt is the head of your jobs thing, and somebody from Walmart is the head of your OMB, you know, what kind of advice are you getting around low-wage workers?”

A Demos report from May titled “Underwriting Bad Jobs” concluded that about two million federal contractors make below $12 an hour.  Many of the workers are employed by fast food franchises in federal buildings.

Last week, Good Jobs Nation filed complaints with the Department of Labor (DOL) accusing eight Reagan Building franchises of “willful violations of the minimum wage, overtime, and record-keeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act.”  Workers have accused management of forcing them to work over 40 hours each week without overtime.  

In the letter sent in late June, Good Jobs Nation informed the DOL of the ongoing FLSA violations:

“In fact, every food court worker who reported working over 40 hours per week was never paid overtime for those hours, even though work weeks of 60 or 70 hours are common, and some workers report working over 80 hours per week.”


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