President Obama is proposing a big increase for new federal contract employees making minimum wage.
The plan was a key part of the President’s speeches Tuesday night and Wednesday.
“If you cook our troops’ meals or wash their dishes, you shouldn’t have to live in poverty,” said Obama, during his State of the Union address Tuesday night.
He plans to sign an executive order to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour. It’s unknown how many people this plan will actually affect.
There are 2.2 million federal contract workers overall, but about 90 percent already earn more than $10.10 an hour.
The increase would not take effect until 2015 at the earliest, and it would only apply to new federal contracts, not existing ones.
There currently are some federally contracted workers in Northeast Wisconsin.
Fifteen people are under contract to do housekeeping work at the Green Bay V.A. Clinic. The company they work for, United Facility Services Corp., did not want to tell us how much they make.
Fox Cities Janitorial, a cleaning business based in Grand Chute, has been contracted to do federal work in the past.
Owner Lilian Trinko pays her employees at least $9.75 an hour, but she would welcome a small boost for her employees during future federal contract work.
“As a company, it will help me to provide a better service to my clients,” said Trinko. “Because the cleaning is not just dusting, it’s to keep healthy and organized.”
While many Democrats applauded the President’s action, Republican House Speaker John Boehner doesn’t think it will have any impact.
“I think the question is how many people, Mr. President, will this executive action actually help? I suspect the answer is somewhere close to zero,” said Boehner.
President Obama hasn’t said exactly when he will issue the executive order. During Tuesday’s speech, he said it will happen in the coming weeks.
Unions representing federal workers have voiced support after the President’s announcement, but they say the president should now work to raise the minimum wage for all federal employees.