Dear Member of Congress,
Just as Congress rightly provided back pay for federal employees who were furloughed or unpaid during the shutdown, Congress should also provide back pay for the contract employees, especially low-wage contractors, who face extreme financial hardship as a result of going over a month without their paychecks.
Over the past few decades, the federal government has contracted out more and more of the jobs and functions federal employees once performed. For every federal worker hired, there are almost two more contract workers hired, for a total of about 3.7 million according to 2015 estimates from the Volcker Alliance. These jobs include the women and men who clean federal buildings, staff cafeterias and concession stands, process payments, and provide vital tech support to federal agencies.
These federal contract workers help keep our nation running, even if their paychecks aren’t cut directly by the U.S. government, and they need their paychecks just as badly as federal employees and deserve the same considerations when the government shuts down. During and since the shutdown contract workers have still had to pay for childcare, housing, food, and medical expenses. Missed paychecks lead to long term repercussions for many already struggling families.
We urge you to do everything within your power to provide back pay for the contract workers throughout this country who have suffered just as grave a financial injury as federal employees did during this shutdown.