President Barack Obama is set to sign an executive order Wednesday to have federal contractors pay their employees $10.10 an hour starting January 1, 2015.
Obama announced plans for the executive order during his State of the Union address last month.
New federal contracts as well as those that replace expired contracts will fall under the requirements of the executive order.
"The executive order the president will sign today will benefit hundreds of thousands of people," a statement from the White House reads. "It will also improve the value that taxpayers are getting from the federal government's investment. Studies show that boosting low wages will reduce turnover and absenteeism, while also boosting morale and improving the incentives for workers, leading to higher productivity overall."
Fast food workers from Chicago, New York City, Pittsburgh, Richmond, Warwick and Wilimington, who have been striking for the right to unionize and a $15 minimum wage, will be on hand as the president signs the executive order.
"We're honored to stand with the president as he leads the fight for higher wages," said Dawn Moore, a Chicago McDonald's worker, who will be in attendance. "Companies like McDonald's should follow his lead and raise pay so that workers can afford to support their families without relying on public assistance."
Moore and another fast food worker from New York City will address the Democratic Caucus Retreat on Thursday to detail the specifics of their cause and call on the lawmakers to support their demands for better wages and union representation.
UPDATE: President Obama signed the executive order Wednesday and then sent out this message to supporters about the move:
Earlier today, I signed an Executive Order to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 for federal contract workers.
It's the right thing to do. But what's more, companies have found that when their employees earn more, they're more motivated, they work harder, and they stick around longer. You should expect the same of your federal government.
The bottom line is this: We are a nation that believes in rewarding honest work with honest wages. And America deserves a raise.
If you agree, let me know you're standing with me -- and take a look at what else we're going to do in 2014.
The order I signed today will help folks across the country. But it's not enough.
Right now, there's a bill in Congress that would raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour for all Americans. It would lift wages for more than 28 million current workers, and would move millions of Americans out of poverty. That means businesses would have customers with more money to spend.
Raising the minimum wage would grow the economy for everyone.
You don't need to believe me: Believe the 600 economists -- including seven Nobel Prize winners -- who wrote both houses of Congress last month to remind them that the bill before them will have little or no negative effect on jobs.
When I stood before both chambers of Congress and said that I intended for 2014 to be a year of action, that wasn't just a nice line in a speech. It was an acknowledgment that we've got to restore opportunity for everyone in America -- the idea that no matter who you are, or how you started out, you can get ahead here if you're responsible and willing to work for it. That's what this "year of action" is all about.
And since that speech, I have taken actions on my own to make it easier for folks to save for retirement, help working Americans get the skills that good jobs demand, and assist millions of Americans who have been looking for work for several months. I've announced a major new commitment toward connecting our schools to 21st-century technology.
That action continues today, and in the months to come.
U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL,1) applauded the president's move in a statement released after he signed the executive order:
Today, President Obama signed an Executive Order to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 for federal contract workers, keeping his promise to make this year one of action. The president’s decision will have a ripple affect across the nation where states should respond with similar actions helping individuals and families earn a living wage.
The mantel now lies before Congress to act and increase minimum wage for hundreds of thousands of people who need higher wages. In support of the president’s decision, I along with 17 other Members of Congress additionally requested that the president extend minimum wage increase to those operating concessions in federal buildings, such as fast food businesses. I and my colleagues believe that no one who works full time should have to raise a family in poverty.
Hence, this Executive Order could not have come at better time in history, a time where change is moving in the direction of equal pay for all Americans.