Sen. Smith Leads Fight to End Federal Contracts with Companiesthat Mistreat Employees & Violate Worker Protection Laws that Mistreat Employees & Violate Worker Protection Laws

WASHINGTON, D.C. [03/11/20]–Today U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) introduced legislation to prevent companies that mistreat their employees and repeatedly break workplace protection laws from receiving taxpayer-funded federal contracts. 

Sen. Smith says the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Act would also expand workplace protections for people employed by large federal contractors. Her legislation is largely similar to a President Obama Executive Order that was repealed in 2017.

“I approach this issue with the core belief that all companies should follow the law and treat their workers fairly,” said Sen. Smith. “If companies break the law, then they should not receive taxpayer-funded government contracts. But right now too many federal contracts are being awarded to companies with egregious and repeated violations of worker protection lawsWhile most contractors treat their workers fairly, we should be cracking down on the bad actors that put workers’ lives and livelihoods at risk.

The Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Act is based on President Obama’s executive order of the same name. While the Obama-era rules were repealed in 2017, Sen. Smith’s legislation would restore them. The bill would require the federal government to consider a company’s history of labor law violations in awarding federal contracts to ensure that taxpayer funds don’t go to companies that repeatedly violate the law. Companies with problematic records of mistreating their workers would be required to take steps to improve their treatment of workers or face the possibility of being barred from federal contracting. The bill would also ensure that workers for federal contractors receive pay stubs and aren’t forced to give up their rights to go to court for sexual harassment or sexual assault. Further, the bill would ensure that taxpayer funds aren’t used for union-busting activity.  

The bill is cosponsored by Sens. Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Brown (D-Ohio), Baldwin (D-Wis.), Feinstein (D-Calif.), Murray (D-Wash.), Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Van Hollen (D-Md.), Shaheen (D-N.H.), Merkley (D-Ore.), and Durbin (D-Ill.).  

You can access text of the bill here.