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Texas AFL-CIO Joins in Amicus Brief to Stop Abbott, Paxton From Reducing Construction Worker Wages

Ed Sills
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The Texas AFL-CIO this evening filed an amicus brief opposing the effort by Texas to overturn a White House order setting a minimum wage of $15 an hour for construction workers on federal contracts.

Joining the Texas AFL-CIO on the brief in Texas v. Biden: Communications Workers of America, Service Employees International Union, Southwest Laborers’ District Council, National Employment Law Project, National Women’s Law Center, Every Texan, Indiana Community Action Poverty Institute, and Economic Policy Institute.

If the state prevails, companies could pay hundreds of thousands of construction workers as little as $10.95 an hour for taxpayer-funded work.

“In organized labor, we often ask our state’s leaders, ‘Which side are you on? The side of the people you represent or the companies that fund your campaigns?’ Texas AFL-CIO President Rick Levy said. “Gov. Abbott and AG Paxton’s lawsuit attacking a reasonable wage floor on government projects makes the answer to that question abundantly clear: Texas is on the side of low-road employers.”

Levy said the friend-of-the-court brief stresses a long history of Presidents who have issued Executive Orders, clearly authorized by federal law, related to wages and working conditions on federal projects. The brief points out that a decent wage improves productivity, decreases employee turnover, and discourages absenteeism.

“We strongly support President Biden’s order as a modest attempt to ensure that when taxpayers fund a federal project, workers are paid at least enough to sustain livelihoods,” Levy said. “Frankly, even $15 an hour may not be enough in 2022. But we are dead positive that demanding a floor of $10.95 an hour is legally and morally wrong.”

“This frivolous lawsuit seeking to usurp clear presidential authority should be tossed out of court quickly and forcefully,” Levy said.