Pressley, Trahan back bill for low-wage workers impacted by shutdown

Service workers whose jobs are tied to federal government contracts would be eligible to receive back pay for wages lost during the ongoing government shutdown under legislation introduced Tuesday by U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley of Boston and others.

Under the bill, any federal contractor that has put low-wage workers on unpaid leave during the shutdown would be required to provide retroactive compensation to cover wages lost during the shutdown. According to Pressley’s office, the bill would apply to retail, food, custodial or security service workers. Contract service workers are not currently entitled to back pay because they work for third-party government contractors, according to Pressley.

“The ongoing government shutdown - a crisis created by the Trump Administration in pursuit of a ‘monument to hate’ that will do nothing to make our country safer - is threatening the livelihoods of more than 800,000 federal workers, none more so than contract service workers, many of whom work on an hourly basis, for low wages, and currently have no prospect of recouping wages lost as a result of the shutdown,” Pressley said in a statement touting her bill.

Later Tuesday, Pressley planned to make a statement on the House floor regarding the 18-day shutdown and its impact on workers and families. President Donald Trump, who is insisting on southern border wall funding as part of any plan to reopen the government, is scheduled to address the nation from the Oval Office at 9 p.m. Tuesday. The list of original sponsors of the Low-Wage Federal Contractor Employee Back Pay Act of 2019, provided by Pressley’s office, features all Democrats, including U.S. Rep. Lori Trahan of Westford.