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AG Nessel Joins Coalition Supporting Fair Wages for Federal Contract Workers

LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has joined a coalition of 22 attorneys general in filing an amicus brief supporting the federal government’s actions to increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour for certain federal contractors. The policy was first enacted by presidential executive order in April 2021, and then implemented by the U.S. Department of Labor in November 2021 in the final rule, “Increasing the Minimum Wage for Federal Contract Workers.” 

Nessel and the coalition submitted the amicus brief in Texas v. Biden, a case involving a challenge to the executive order and final rule raising the minimum wage for federal contractors. Nessel and the states argue that both the president and the Department of Labor acted within their authority when implementing the policies to ensure federal contract workers are paid fair living wages. In addition, Nessel and the attorneys general argue that the minimum wage increase is supported by empirical evidence showing improved quality of life for low- and moderate-income workers, and the practice is consistent with historical minimum wage increases for contractors. 

“This minimum wage increase would apply to 70,000 federal workers and 300,000 employees of federal contractors, including many Michigan residents,” Nessel said. “There is no basis to conclude that the president acted outside of his statutory authority or against past practice. Workers deserve a fair wage for their labor, and this rule supports working Americans and their families all across this country. I wholeheartedly stand with my colleagues in asking the Court of Appeals to reverse the lower court’s decision.”

In their brief, Nessel and the coalition point to the ways an increased minimum wage benefits employers, employees, and consumers, citing studies and reports demonstrating that an increased minimum wage leads to improved morale and productivity, reduced turnover, and absenteeism, as well as improved income equality and decreased poverty for federal contractual workers. Those benefits lead to improved service and enhanced consumer experiences. 

The amicus brief is the latest action Nessel has joined with other state attorneys general to protect the rights of workers. In 2022, AG Nessel partnered with 16 state attorneys general in an amicus brief arguing to the U.S. Supreme Court that removing any aspect of workers’ ability to fight against unfair labor practices could do irreparable harm to unions and severely weaken employees' bargaining power. As a strike loomed for UPS Teamsters in July 2023, AG Nessel expressed her solidarity with UPS workers as they collectively bargained for fair wages, safe working conditions, affordable health care, and dignified retirement. AG Nessel previously supported federal workers by joining an amicus brief in August 2023 supporting the federal government’s actions to increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour, and in October 2023, AG Nessel joined 19 other state attorneys general in speaking out against “no-poaching" agreements. The coalition urged the U.S. District Court of New Jersey to find that “no-poaching” agreements like those used by tax preparation chain Jackson Hewitt are harmful, anticompetitive restraints that harm workers and should be unlawful. 

Joining AG Nessel in filing the brief are attorneys general from California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin.


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