WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 7, 2017) — Led by Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, Senate Democrats took to the Senate floor on Monday to speak out against the Republican-led vote to eliminate the ‘Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces” rule. Senate Democrats unanimously voted against overturning the “fair pay” rule — the final vote was: 49-48.
Pushed by Senate Democrats and finalized by the Obama Administration, the “fair pay” rule would make sure government agencies consider an employer’s record of providing their workers with a safe workplace and paying workers the money they have rightly earned before granting and renewing federal contracts.
“For too long, the government has awarded billions of taxpayer dollars to companies that rob workers of their paychecks and fail to maintain safe working conditions. This rule helps right that wrong,” said Senator Murray in her floor speech. “Under this rule, when a company applies for a federal contract, they will need to be upfront about their safety, health, and labor violations over the past three years. That way, government agencies can consider an employer’s record of providing workers with a safe workplace and paying workers what they have earned — before granting or renewing federal contracts.”
In 2013, the Senate HELP Committee conducted an investigation which found that nearly 30 percent of the companies that received the most severe penalties for worker safety and wage law violations were federal contractors. In her speech, Murray said that American taxpayers should have the basic guarantee that their dollars are going to responsible contractors.
“When workers arrive on the job, they deserve to know that they will be treated fairly; they will be provided with safe and healthy workplaces; their right to collective bargaining will be respected; and that they will be paid all of the wages they have rightly earned. And businesses that contract with the government should set an example when it comes to each of these concerns—and taxpayer dollars should only go to businesses that respect these fundamental worker protections.”
In overturning these protections, Murray said President Trump and Republicans are again “breaking their campaign promise to put workers first” and hurting workers, the middle class, and the economy.
“As I’ve said time and again, families nationwide are sending a very clear message — at marches, in phone calls and letters, online and in their communities — they expect and are demanding that their representatives are truly committed to working for them. I, for one, am committed to standing with them, I know my colleagues are committed, and we are prepared to fight back.”