Obama also planned to take action today to use the federal government’s vast array of contractors to impose rules on wages, pay disparities and hiring on a segment of the private sector that gets taxpayer money and falls under his control. He was scheduled to issue an order prohibiting federal contractors from retaliating against workers who discuss their pay and direct the Labor Department to issue new rules requiring federal contractors to provide compensation data that includes a breakdown by race and gender.
The steps, which Obama plans to take at a White House event, take aim at pay disparities between men and women. The Senate this week is scheduled to take up gender pay equity legislation that would affect all employers, but the White House-backed bill doesn’t have enough Republican support to overcome procedural obstacles and will likely fail.
The executive actions are designed to let workers discuss and compare their wages openly if they wish to do so and to provide the government with better data about how federal contractors compensate their workers.