Federally Contracted Workers Stage Strikes in D.C.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013  |  Updated 8:11 PM EDT
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Hundreds of workers at federal buildings staged a one day strike for higher wages. Tom Sherwood reports.

Hundreds of workers at federal buildings staged a one day strike for higher wages. Tom Sherwood reports.

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Federally Contracted Workers Strike in D.C.

Hundreds of federally contracted workers will stage strikes around D.C. to protest low wages Tuesday.

Federally Contracted Workers Strike at Union Station

Hundreds of federally contracted workers will stage strikes around D.C. to protest low wages Tuesday.
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About 200 federally contracted workers staged strikes around D.C. to protest low wages Tuesday.

In support of the Good Jobs Nation campaign, the workers protested outside the Reagan Building, the American History Museum, and Columbus Circle at Union Station. The group represents almost 2 million workers employed by private businesses to work in federally owned buildings, serving food, selling memorabilia and even making military uniforms.

Workers say dozens of private companies have good contracts with federal facilities and museums but pay workers barely minimum wage. They say they can't make ends meet on less than $10 per hour.

The strikers blocked traffic at 14th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, bringing the morning commute to a halt.

"All I want is to be able to support my family, but I can't even afford to pay my rent on $9 an hour," said Ana Salvador, who works at the McDonald's at the National Air and Space Museum. The strike shut down that McDonald's Tuesday.

As protestors stood in the intersection, police had drivers turn around instead of making arrests.

Speakers at the rally outside the Reagan Building, where the strike forced four businesses in the food court to close, called for President Obama to issue an executive order, forcing companies with federal contracts to pay a living wage.

A congressional hearing on the issue was held at 3 p.m. Tuesday.

Workers said more protest are on the way, News4's Tom Sherwood reported.

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