Crack Down on Contractors’ Terrible Labor Violations

imperial sugar explosion

Target: United States President Barack Obama

Goal: Applaud the President’s support for the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order

Companies with track records of horrific labor violations are awarded billions of dollars in federal contracts each year. Tax dollars pad the wallets of executives willing to endanger employees in order to increase profits. Predictably, this callousness can have deadly consequences.

Current regulations state that contracts only be awarded to companies with “integrity, and business ethics,” yet little is done to ensure compliance. “They may neglect legally required safety standards and maim a worker on the job,” writes CorpWatch, “systematically engage in age or gender discrimination, refuse to pay overtime in violation of the law, or ignore the Americans with Disabilities Act and demote or fire disabled employees.” If companies with a history of violations continue to receive lucrative contracts year after year, what is their incentive to reform?

In order to improve protections President Barack Obama has signed the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order. Upon implementation companies will be required to disclose past violations and make necessary changes before being awarded new contracts.

Praise the President’s support for the order, which promotes the responsible use of tax dollars while protecting America’s workers.


Dear President Obama,

Thank you for signing the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order. As the order states, “By cracking down on federal contractors who break the law, the President is helping ensure that all hardworking Americans get the fair pay and safe workplaces they deserve.” This is indeed an important mission, and one which I fully support.

For too long the government has failed to fulfill its commitment to award contracts only to ethical companies. The safety inspections required by law are often abandoned, and fines–when they are even levied–are not enough to discourage future violations. Because of this, tax payers continue to fund billions in contracts with companies like Tyson Foods and Imperial Sugar whose negligence costs employees their lives.

An advanced society should not promote the prosperity of the few at the cost of trampled workers’ rights. This executive order is an important step forward. Chris Thompson, writing for CorpWatch, explained its significance: “For far too long, federal contractors have been able to cheat or injure their employees, secure in the knowledge that their lawbreaking will not count against them when their contracts come up for renewal. Once implemented, the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order will take that security away from them.”

Thank you Mr. President for signing this order. Please, ensure it is enforced.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board via Wikimedia Commons

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