WASHINGTON, May 21, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The head of the largest union representing federal and D.C. government employees says the federal government should follow the lead of Los Angeles and other cities by raising the minimum wage for federal and D.C. government employees to $15 an hour.
"There are tens of thousands of federal and D.C. government employees who work full-time yet earn less than $15 an hour," American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr. said. "The federal government should serve as an example for other employers to follow by providing its own employees with a living wage."
This week, city leaders in Los Angeles voted to increase the minimum wage for municipal employees to $15 an hour over the next five years, joining three other cities that have enacted a $15 minimum wage in the past year. The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour.
"Minimum wage workers today earn less than they did in 1950, when accounting for inflation. Employees who put in an honest day's work should be able to feed their family and put a roof over their head without having to rely on government programs that are intended for the poor and indigent," Cox said.
Last year, President Obama issued an executive order raising the minimum wage for federal contract workers to $10.10 an hour, yet the administration has resisted calls to support even that modest increase for the government's own workers. AFGE and other labor unions on the Federal Prevailing Rate Advisory Committee made a proposal that the White House support increasing the minimum wage for hourly federal employees to $10.10 an hour. But the proposal died due to opposition from management representatives on the committee.
"The workers performing these low-paid jobs are just as vital to the mission of their agencies as everyone else. They are licensed practical nurses at our veterans' hospitals, food service workers at our commissaries, and maintenance workers at our military bases. They are supporting our country, yet they are unable to support themselves and their families on the paltry wages they earn from the government," Cox said.
The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) is the largest federal employee union, representing 670,000 workers in the federal government and the government of the District of Columbia.
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SOURCE American Federation of Government Employees