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President Biden’s order to raise...

President Biden’s order to raise minimum wage for federal contractors to $15 takes effect January 30th

By: Anne Summerhays - November 24, 2021

State Sen. Sojourner, EmpowerMS President Latino agree that Biden’s order is counterproductive, say President has “helped” enough.

On Monday, the U.S. Department of Labor announced a final rule that implemented Executive Order 14026 that will increase the hourly minimum wage for employees on federal contracts beginning January 30, 2022. President Biden signed the order on April 27, 2021.

The rule applies in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and specified U.S. territories. It mandates the following:

  • Increase the hourly minimum wage for workers performing work on or in connection with covered federal contracts to $15 beginning January 30, 2022.
  • Continue to index the federal contract minimum wage in future years to inflation.
  • Eliminate the tipped minimum wage for federal contract employees by 2024.
  • Ensure a $15 minimum wage for workers with disabilities performing work on or in connection with covered contracts.
  • Restore minimum wage protections to outfitters and guides operating on federal lands.

CNBC reported that the rule is expected to impact some 327,000 workers, including food-service employees and nursing assistants who currently make less than $15 an hour.

Labor Secretary Martin J. Walsh said in a statement that the Executive Order “improves the economic security of these workers and their families, many of whom are women and people of color.”

U.S. Labor Wage and Hour Division Acting Administrator Jessica Looman said the final rule adds value for taxpayers by boosting worker productivity and reducing employee turnover and absenteeism.

“It also allows federal contractors to retain top talent, and reduce recruiting and training costs,” she contends.

However, there are many conservatives who are skeptical of the implementation of $15 per hour for employees of federal contractors.

Russ Latino, President of Empower Mississippi, says artificially raising wages for all employees of federal contractors ignores regional differences in pay across the labor market.

“Doing so will dramatically raise costs for both employers and taxpayers and will only serve to make our current inflation quagmire worse,” Latino told Y’all Politics. “President Biden is ignoring the first rule when you find yourself in a hole. He needs to stop digging and let American employers and the American worker heal from an extended stretch of reckless government intrusion. He’s ‘helped’ quite enough.”

Mississippi State Senator Melanie Sojourner (R), who serves as a member of the Mississippi Senate Labor Committee, told Y’all Politics that there is a clear link between economic freedom and prosperity. The Senator said economies grow when people are allowed maximum opportunity to pursue their interests under limited government, regulatory efficiency, and market openness. However, Biden’s executive order takes the opposite approach.

“First, Biden’s heavy-handed attempts to govern by executive order are problematic. Second, his interference in the economy is counterproductive. Research documents the harmful effects of minimum wage laws on the job market,” Senator Sojourner said. “Such laws can’t generate additional income; they can only redistribute it. In so doing, raising the minimum wage will create a whole host of unintended consequences for Mississippians — loss of entry-level positions, increased unemployment, and higher prices for consumers and taxpayers.”

Garrett McInnis with Accelerate Mississippi, the organization leading the state’s workforce development initiative, says raising household incomes for Mississippi families is a guiding principle for their work but believes those advancements should come through training rather than executive order from the President.

“Our office is committed to developing and deploying strategies that give more Mississippians pathways to high paying careers through educational and training opportunities,” McInnis told Y’all Politics. “We do that through training and educating our people for high impact, good careers, not by governmental mandates.”

About the Author(s)
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Anne Summerhays

Anne Summerhays is a recent graduate of Millsaps College where she majored in Political Science, with minors in Sociology and American Studies. In 2021, she joined Y’all Politics as a Capitol Correspondent. Prior to making that move, she interned for a congressional office in Washington, D.C. and a multi-state government relations and public affairs firm in Jackson, Mississippi. While at Millsaps, Summerhays received a Legislative Fellowship with the Women’s Foundation of Mississippi where she worked with an active member of the Mississippi Legislature for the length of session. She has quickly established trust in the Capitol as a fair, honest, and hardworking young reporter. Her background in political science helps her cut through the noise to find and explain the truth.