United States President will issue an executive order to raise the minimum wage for hundreds of thousands of federal contract workers to $15.
The executive order comes as part of a wider push for a $15 an hour minimum wage in the US.
The move on Tuesday will increase the current minimum wage of $10.95 by nearly 37 percent by March of next year and continue to tie future increases to inflation. It comes as part of a larger push by some Democrats and Biden to make the national minimum wage $15.
“The executive order ensures that hundreds of thousands of workers no longer have to work full time and still live in poverty,” the White House said in a statement. “It will improve the economic security of families and make progress toward reversing decades of income inequality.”
The order will apply to federal workers from cleaning and maintenance staff to food service contractors and laborers, sweeping in tipped workers who were previously left out of the last increase under former President Barack Obama.
White House officials insist it won’t increase costs for taxpayers because of benefits including increased worker productivity and less turnover.
Biden won the 2020 presidential election with support of so-called northern rust belt states, some of the last bastions in the US of strong unions. He has said strong unions and higher wages can resurrect America’s middle class while helping bridge economic and racial inequities.
The most recent move comes after Biden, on Monday, signed another order to create a White House task force that will promote unions and labour organising, which will be headed by Vice President Kamala Harris.
The move was a significant attempt to use the federal government’s resources to help stem a decline in union membership in the country.
Since taking office, Biden has removed government officials whom unions have called hostile to labour and reversed Trump-era rules that weakened worker protections. He also appeared in a video alluding to workers in an Amazon facility in Alabama to vote to form a union an effort that did not end in success.
Biden tried to insert a federal $15 minimum wage into the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill signed in March, but it was tossed on a procedural matter by the Senate parliamentarian.