Attorney General Raoul leads coalition calling for federal contract workers to receive fair wages (Chicago, IL) – Attorney General Kwame Raoul has led a coalition of attorneys general supporting federal government actions to increase the minimum wage at $15 per hour for certain federal contractors. The policy was first enacted by presidential executive order in April 2021, then implemented by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) in November 2021 in the final rule, “Increased Minimum Wage for Federal Contract Workers.”
Raoul and the coalition submitted amicus briefs in Arizona v. Walsh, Texas v. Biden and Bradford v. US Department of Labor, three lawsuits challenging the power of the DOL to raise the minimum wage paid to federal contractors. Raoul and the States argue that the President and the DOL acted within their authority when implementing policies to ensure federal contract workers received a living wage. Moreover, Raoul and the attorneys general argue that such policies benefit workers, employers and consumers across the country.
“All employees have the right to receive a fair wage that allows them to support themselves and their families,” Raoul said. “We all benefit when workers in our states earn living wages, and I am committed to continuing to defend the rights of all workers to receive fair compensation, regardless of where they work.”
At issue in the underlying lawsuits is an executive order and follow-up rule increasing the minimum wage for certain federal contractors, which had been set at $10.10 an hour since 2014. In addition to raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, the executive order and rule reversed an exception created in 2018, which exempted federal contractors who provide seasonal recreational services and amenities — such as recreational outfitters operating on federal lands — minimum age requirements. The rule has since been challenged in court by state coalitions led by Texas and Arizona, as well as a number of companies that provide seasonal recreation services on federal lands.
In their memoirs, Raoul and the coalition highlight the benefits of an increase in the minimum wage for employers, employees and consumers. The briefs cite studies and reports demonstrating that raising the minimum wage leads to improved morale and productivity, reduced turnover and absenteeism, as well as improved income equality and reduced poverty for federal contract workers. These benefits, in turn, lead to improved service and enhance consumer experiences.
The amicus brief is Raoul’s latest collaboration with states across the country to protect workers’ rights. In 2020, Raoul filed two lawsuits challenging DOL rules that impermissibly changed protections for tipped workers and eliminated key worker protections under the Fair Labor Standards Act. In 2022, Raoul led a multi-state coalition in an amicus brief supporting the rights of transportation workers in Southwest vs. Saxon (US 21-209)and also filed two amicus briefs in support of Illinois workers’ rights under the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act and the Illinois Minimum Wage Act .
Attorney General Raoul encourages workers who are concerned about wage and hour violations or potentially unsafe working conditions to call his workplace rights hotline at 1-844-740-5076 or file a complaint online.
Attorney General Raoul leads coalition calling for federal contract workers to receive fair wages