The recent government shutdown revealed just how devastating it is for many people when they don’t get their regular paycheck. Over the 35 day shutdown, the longest in our history, we all heard many stories of federal workers all over the country who were affected by the gap in payment.
What’s going on?
One group we still need to talk about are the workers who are not federal employees, but are contracted by the government to do work on its behalf. There are nearly 580,000 of them and they are still reeling from not having received any back pay. When the appropriations bill was ultimately signed, it included back pay for the federal workers, but not for the contractors.
Democratic legislators have introduced a bill to fix that. Check out this short video that explains it:
The House is very likely to pass the bill, but what about the Senate, where the Republicans have the majority? Well, earlier this week, a Vox reporter asked 11 Republican senators what they thought, and their answers left the door wide open.
What we can do
Today, take a few minutes to call your two Senators and one Representative and let them know where you stand on the issue. A sample script:
“I am one of the Senators’/Congresspersons’ constituents in [ZIP] and I am calling to say that I am supportive of legislation that would provide back pay to federal contractors in the event of a shutdown.”
You can press a bit further and ask the staffer on the phone if you your Senator/Representative is willing to vote Yes on the legislation if it’s brought up, or even ask them to vocally support such a bill with their fellow colleagues.
And if you’re not a phone person, you can always send a quick email. All of your Senators’ contact info is HERE, and your Representatives HERE.
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as a former contractor – I planned to work as available and built risk into my contract pay requests. the back pay should be provided by the primary contractors if there are subs. Contracting is meant to get around employment requirements so there is and should be a difference.
While I was aware of the situation with the contractors, I had not thought to contact my Senators and Representative (who is an idiot and a member of the House Freedom Caucus, so likely a waste, but …). I shall do that tomorrow morning! Thanks!