January 29, 2019

Hirono Continues to Fight to Ensure Federal Contract Workers Hurt by Shutdown Receive Paychecks

WASHINGTON, D.C.– Today, Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii) joined 32 BJ SEIU union members and several of her colleagues, including Senators Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), to urge the passage of legislation that would secure back pay for federal contractor employees impacted by the government shutdown. 

From Senator Hirono’s remarks at the press conference:

“Thank you to SEIU for bringing us together so we can focus on what is happening to contractors with the federal government. I don’t think there is anything scarier for any family than to face the prospect of not receiving a paycheck. That was happening during this totally unnecessary, unconscionable shutdown. Last week, I spent time at the Hawaii Foodbank with federal employees and contractors, and heard many stories about people facing eviction and utilizing the food bank. This kind of support for our federal contractors needs to be enacted because as government privatizes jobs, every time something like this happens, more and more people are going to be harmed.”

Last week, Senators Hirono, Smith, and 21 of their colleagues introduced the Fair Compensation for Low-Wage Contractor Employees Act, which would provide back pay up to $600 per paycheck for federal contractor employees who were furloughed or had their hours reduced due to the government shutdown. The bill aims to help low-wage federal contractor employees, including janitorial, food, and security services workers. Previously in December, the Senate unanimously passed S. 24, the Government Employee Fair Treatment Act, which would provide back pay for federal workers affected by the shutdown. Senator Hirono was an original cosponsor of the bill. 

Earlier this month, Senator Hirono joined hundreds of furloughed federal employees who are members of more than 20 labor unions at a rally to call on President Donald Trump and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to end the government shutdown.

 On Monday, Senator Hirono joined Senators Van Hollen (D-Md.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), and several of her colleagues in sending a letter to the Trump Administration urging the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to provide back pay for federal workers as soon as possible following the conclusion of the longest government shutdown in U.S. history.

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