Obama to Bypass Congress and Give Workers Better Pay
Back in January, President Barack Obama spoke to Congress in the State of the Union Address with rhetoric akin to an ultimatum; do these things, or I will do them on my end the best I can, and ask others to skip over you. “I intend to lead by example,” said Obama. “In the coming weeks, I will issue an Executive Order requiring federal contractors to pay their federally-funded employees a fair wage of at least $10.10 an hour.” He encouraged state government and legislators to do the same, not to wait for Congress, and added that, “Congress needs to get on board.” In February, Obama followed through on his original promise when it came to a minimum wage increase for federal contract workers, issuing an executive order to establish a “minimum wage for Federal contractors and subcontractors … [at] $10.10 per hour beginning January 1, 2015.” There was also a clause for tipped workers wages, which would be given at least $4.90 an hour on the same schedule.
Now, Obama is looking to take another step of his own to up pay for millions more, as he threatened in the past should Congress not get on board. According to the New York Times, those affected will include those fast food managers, loan officers, and computer technicians that are considered “executive or professional.” He will be ordering the Labor Department on Thursday to require overtime pay for these types of employees, a move that will likely bring criticism from opponents in Washington. “There’s no such thing as a free lunch. If they push through something to make a certain class of workers more expensive, something will happen to adjust,” said Daniel Mitchell, senior fellow at the Cato Institute, to the New York Times. Mitchell noted that with a forced change such as that, it’s quite possible that employers might cut pay, or even workers, if need be.