Capitol, Pentagon, Smithsonian strike: Federal food service, janitorial workers want higher pay.

Food Service, Janitorial Workers Striking at Capitol, Smithsonian, Pentagon

Food Service, Janitorial Workers Striking at Capitol, Smithsonian, Pentagon

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Nov. 13 2014 11:56 AM

Food Service, Janitorial Workers Striking at Capitol, Smithsonian, Pentagon

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The Capitol.

Photo by Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images

Federal contract workers at the Capitol, Smithsonian, Pentagon, and other buildings are striking today; the workers, organized by a group called Good Jobs Nation, are seeking higher pay (they'd like wages to start at $15 an hour rather than the current $10.10) and hope to form a union. "The one-day strike is the 10th by federal contract workers spearheaded by Good Jobs Nation since May 2013," Reuters reports, writing that "several hundred" individuals are expected to participate.

A report released last year by the progressive think tank Demos estimated that 560,000 private-sector employees contracted to work for the federal government make less than $12 an hour, a rate that works out to less than $25,000 a year. The national minimum wage is currently $7.25, and Obama has proposed raising it to $10.10. Many states have minimum wage laws more demanding than the federal government's; click here to see the rates by state. Washington's, at $9.32, is highest.