Beau Boughamer, 202/765-9143,

Issued May 27, 2015

Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces' federal rule is step forward for working people, law-abiding businesses

Regulation would improve lives of workers, level playing field for federal contractors that play by the rules

WASHINGTON--A newly released federal rule is a giant step forward for the 26 million Americans working for companies doing business with the federal government as well as for law-abiding businesses themselves, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) said today.

SEIU joined working men and women and businesses in applauding the draft regulation, which is based on best practices from both the public sector and the private sector. It fleshes out President Obama's Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces" executive order, indicating how federal contractors will be expected to adhere to the order.

"Working women and men need these protections and will benefit from them," said SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry. "So will federal contractors who play by the rules, because this regulation will prevent firms that cut corners and mistreat workers from undercutting them and winning contracts.

"Not only is this rule a good idea, it's also very necessary if you want businesses to be able to make a fair profit. It's impossible for responsible businesses to compete when scofflaw companies low-ball their bids because they plan to cut corners," Henry added.

The old way of doing things effectively subsidized contractor misconduct, the union said. Major labor-law violators won $81 billion in federal contracts in fiscal year 2012 alone, according to the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee.

The just-released rule is subject to a public comment period before being finalized. SEIU said it would submit comments urging that the protections for workers and the provisions that aid law-abiding businesses be as strong as possible in the final rule.

"President Obama is standing up for workers and businesses--as well as the American public," Henry said, "by ensuring that taxpayer dollars go only to contractors that pay fairly and keep workers safe."