Obama Signs Executive Order Prohibiting LGBT Discrimination By Federal Contractors

This is obviously long overdue - but thankfully finally happening:

"The executive order has two parts: It makes it illegal to fire or harass employees of federal contractors based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, and it explicitly bans discrimination against transgender employees of the federal government. The part targeting federal contractors affects 24,000 companies employing roughly 28 million workers, or about one-fifth of the nation's workforce.
"America's federal contracts should not subsidize discrimination against the American people," Obama said during remarks at the White House just before signing the order. "I'm going to do what I can with the authority I have to act."
The provision affecting federal employees takes effect immediately, while employees of federal contractors will have their new protections in place by early next year, according to senior administration officials" (link)

President Obama signing the order yesterday:


Minimum Wage Hikes Gaining Steam

Great news regarding increasing the minimum wage with an increase from $8 to $11 an hour in Massachusetts signed into law by Governor Deval Patrick (fully effective by 2017) and, in the corporate sphere, with IKEA planning to raise it's average hourly wages to $10.76 an hour.

The Massachusetts law will give that state the highest minimum wage in the country.

From Governor Patrick - who appears to see this increase as just a first step:

"This minimum wage is great progress, but it's not a livable wage," Patrick said to applause from members of Raise Up Massachusetts, a coalition that had gathered more than 350,000 signatures in favor of a minimum wage hike.
"Keep looking ahead and above all, keep in mind that people for whom the American dream is still just a dream . . . deserve the chance for themselves and their families to dream along with the rest of us . . . ." (link)

President Obama, who recently signed an executive order increasing the wages of employees of federal contractors to $10.10 on future contracts (effective 2015) and has supported increasing the federal minimum wage (currently a measly $7.25 an hour) to $10.10, strongly praised Massachusetts lawmakers for the new law.