Schakowsky and Davis Introduce Legislation To Make Federal Contractors Treat Workers Fairly

July 1, 2021
Press Release


WASHINGTON - Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, a Senior Chief Deputy Whip and Chair of the Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Congressman Danny K. Davis, Chair of the Worker and Family Support Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee, recently introduced H.R. 4186, the Patriotic Corporations of America Act. This legislation would require that federal contractors prioritize American workers, reduce economic inequality, advance race and gender equality, support environmental sustainability, and pay their fair share of U.S. taxes.

“We cannot continue to burden American taxpayers with the subsidization of corporations whose practices are dangerous or unjust,” said Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky. “The American people deserve employers who exercise just behavior and whose actions will move the country forward. The privilege of receiving taxpayer dollars should go to companies that are helping to build and strengthen this country, not the ones whose behavior is harmful to American society or the planet.”

“I am proud to join with Representative Schakowsky in introducing this bill that encourages companies to invest in America and American workers,” said Congressman Danny K. Davis. “We shouldn’t simply hope corporations do the right thing. We should credit businesses for being responsible actors. The Patriotic Corporations of America Act is an important step in ensuring that federal contracts reward businesses for locating in the US, promoting environmental sustainability, advancing race and gender equality, and supporting their workers via quality wage, retirement, and health policies.”

Companies will be required to meet the following criteria, among others, to qualify for federal contracts:

  • Pay Fair Wages: Pay workers $15 per hour or 110% of the federal minimum wage, whichever is higher.
  • Commit to Unions: Sign agreements committing to remain neutral in union organizing campaigns and not hire replacements or close a business in response to a work stoppage.
  • Respect Union Rights: Has not been found in violation or settled a claim for a violation of labor union rights.
  • Just Environmental Behavior: Has not paid a penalty or settled a claim in connection with the violation of an EPA regulation in the preceding five years.

Companies will get preference in the federal contract bidding process if they meet the following criteria, among others:

  • CEO Pay: Does not have a CEO-median worker pay ratio of more than 100 to 1. (The numerator will be based on the highest-paid employee if that is not the CEO.)
  • Pension Contribution: Contributes at least 5 percent of payroll to a portable pension fund.
  • Collective Bargaining: Has a collective bargaining agreement.
  • Diversity in Leadership: Women and people of color make up at least 40 percent of top executives and board members.

The legislation is supported by AFL-CIO, SEIU, Color of Change, Our Revolution, Take on Wall Street, CWA, IAMAW, Teamsters, IFPTE, Greenpeace, Public Citizen, Patriotic Millionaires, Institute for Policy Studies/Global Economy Project, Campaign for America's Future, NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, Americans for Financial Reform, and Indivisible.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said, “the AFL-CIO strongly endorses the Patriotic Corporations of America Act of 2021 that would guarantee that U.S. taxpayer dollars go to employers that are headquartered in the United States, play by the rules, ensure fair wages and treat workers with respect. This important legislation will promote jobs right here at home."

“Our tax dollars should not subsidize corporations that are contributing to our nation’s skyrocketing inequality or causing other social and environmental damage. This bill ensures taxpayer funds are used wisely to incentivize high-road business practices that will make the country more equitable and resilient in the face of future crises,” said Sarah Anderson, Global Economy Director, Institute for Policy Studies.

"For too long, corporate executives have used federal dollars to line their own pockets at the expense of workers and the environment. This bill is a huge step forward in reversing that practice, prioritizing good labor, tax and environmental practices in the contracting process." said Mandla Deskins of the Take on Wall Street Campaign Americans for Financial Reform.

"As the country looks to rebound economically, federal and local governments must ensure protections for Black workers,” said Jade Magnus Ogunnaike, senior director of campaigns at Color Of Change. “For many Black workers, going 'back to normal' post-pandemic only means returning to weak labor protections, poverty wages, and an insufficient for-profit healthcare system. After a year of facing systemic inequities exacerbated by the pandemic, Black communities need economic justice that provides real solutions to workers’ fight for equity — not just a return to inhumane conditions. Congress has an opportunity to set the bar of what jobs with dignity look like through federal contract requirements. Color Of Change commends Chair Schakowsky’s dedication to economic justice through the Patriotic Corporations of America Act of 2021 and will continue to support legislation that uplifts investment and equity in Black communities."

“An important freedom that  Americans have is the right to choose to do business with organizations that share their values. Our government, acting on behalf of the people, likewise must choose to do business with organizations that share our values: living wages, not evading American taxes while taking Americans tax-dollars, and equal pay, benefits, and respect for everyone regardless of race, gender, or sexual identity,” said Morris Pearl, Chairman of Patriotic Millionaires.