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March 31, 2014 Published in Choice 2014

Paying American Workers What They Deserve

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Former Lieutenant Governor Don Beyer echoed today’s radio address by Vice President Biden, calling on Congress to increase the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour, and also urging Congress to pass the FAIR Act, which would give federal employees a 3.3 percent pay hike in 2015.

“As a businessman, I applaud President Obama’s efforts to give American workers a raise,” Beyer said.  “Too many people work hard and play by the rules, but they’re still struggling to make ends meet and support their families.  We need to help them and that starts with raising the minimum wage.”

Beyer, who owns an automotive company in Northern Virginia, said the car industry well understands the need for good wages.  He noted the recent centennial of Henry Ford’s famous decision to double wages to $5 a day—a move that helped build the U.S. middle class and revitalize the manufacturing industry.  “Ford noted that his workers were demoralized, which was affecting productivity,” Beyer said.  “Rather than take punitive measures, he raised their pay and it paid off.”

Beyer also supports Obama’s recent proposal to make millions more workers eligible for overtime pay when they work more than 40 hours a week.  The standard is quite low by historical standards.  "The President’s new proposal will help millions of middle-class families,” Beyer said. 

Beyer, a congressional candidate in Virginia’s 8th district and former Ambassador appointed by Obama, applauded legislation introduced this week by Virginia Congressmen Jim Moran and Gerry Connolly to increase federal workers’ salaries by 3.3 percent. The Federal Adjustment of Income Rates Act aims to restore federal salaries after three years of pay freezes, as well as furloughs last year for many feds.

“As a leader of federal employees for the last four years, I was dismayed that our talented federal workforce had to manage increasing financial obligations with frozen incomes,” Beyer said.  “This acknowledgement of their contribution is well deserved and overdue.”

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