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Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton

Representing the District of Columbia

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Norton Says House Appropriations Bill Provides Back Pay to Federal Contract Workers in Keeping with Her Bill

Jun 12, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The office of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) announced today that the House Appropriations Committee has funded a bill that Norton led with Representative Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) for back pay for low-wage federal contract workers furloughed during the last government shutdown.  She thanked House Democratic appropriators for including the provision for federal contract workers in the bill.

“Unlike federal employees, who received back pay after President Trump’s 35-day shutdown, federal contract workers were left out altogether,” Norton said.  “Contract workers have become second-class federal workers doing the same jobs as civil servants but without the pay and security of federal employees.  The Trump shutdown exposed their vulnerability, which had been under the radar until the shutdown.”

Norton also led a group of House Democrats in a letter to the Office of Management and Budget citing OMB authority to negotiate with contractors to provide back pay. The letter said: “Government contracts typically have provisions to modify the terms of the contract, and federal contracting officers should use these provisions to work with contractors to provide back pay for contract workers who lost wages as a result of the shutdown."

Norton originally introduced a bill to grant back pay to federally contracted retail, food, custodial, and security service workers who were furloughed during the shutdown, just as furloughed federal employees received back pay.  The Norton and Pressley bills were both directed at the same low-wage workers.