Who gets a raise and who doesn’t under Obama’s order

Anita Kumar

President Barack Obama announced Tuesday that he’ll sign an executive order to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour for employees who work for companies that get government contracts. Some questions and answers about the new proposal:

Q: How many workers will get raises?

A. The White House offered no estimate for how many workers the change would affect, though advocacy groups guess that the number would reach into the hundreds of thousands.

Q: How many people work for companies through federal contracts?

A: Two million Americans work on federal contracts, according to a report by Demos, a public policy organization, though only some of them receive the minimum wage. A National Employment Law Project study found that about 75 percent of those workers earn less than $10 an hour.

Q: What do these workers do?

A: They prepare food and wash dishes, clean laundry and buildings, and manufacture military uniforms, among other duties.

Q: How much will the proposal cost companies?

A: The White House offered no estimate. Federal spending on contracts reached more than $500 billion in 2012.

Q: Will everyone who works for the government get a raise?

A: No. It will affect only workers whose companies negotiate new contracts with the government.

Q: Is Congress still considering raising the minimum wage for all Americans?

A: Yes. The president supports a bill to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour by 2015, which would affect tens of millions of workers.

By Anita Kumar
McClatchy Washington Bureau