Sens. Tom Carper and Chris Coons, joined 32 Democratic Senators in writing to the Office of Management and Budget to urge them to direct federal agencies to work with contractors to provide back pay to compensate low- and middle-income contractor employees for the wages they have lost during the shutdown.

Under their existing authority, federal contracting officers should use provisions that allow them to modify the terms of the contract to work with contractors to provide back pay for employees who lost wages as a result of the government shutdown.

“Contract workers and their families should not suffer the consequences of a shutdown that they did not cause,” the senators wrote. “Low-wage service contract workers perform jobs that are absolutely vital to the government, such as food service, security and custodial work. Many of these workers live paycheck-to-paycheck and cannot afford to pay their rent and other bills if the shutdown continues. After past shutdowns, contractor employees have generally not received back pay. In addition to our fight to protect federal workers who are being hurt by this shutdown, we are committed to righting this wrong for contractor employees.”

“We urge you to take immediate steps to ensure that contractor employees get the back pay that they deserve by providing clear directions for agencies and contractors to do so,” the senators concluded.

The full text of the letter is available at bit.ly/2AFf4fz.