Attorney General Brnovich is leading a coalition of five states suing the Biden administration over its Contractor Minimum Wage Mandate that increases the minimum wage for federal contractors to $15 and expands overtime requirements for federal contractors. The Mandate covers one-fifth of the entire U.S. labor force and applies to industries such as law enforcement, whitewater rafting, and fast-food restaurants, as well as all three Arizona state universities and the Civil Rights Division of the Office of the Arizona Attorney General (AGO).
“President Biden always likes to get what he wants right away, with little patience for things like facts or the law,” said Attorney General Mark Brnovich. “His minimum wage mandate is yet another example of attempted federal overreach that has become a pattern with this administration.”
The Contractor Minimum Wage Mandate was part of the Biden administration’s unlawful April 2021 Executive Order. Just one month prior, the U.S. Senate rejected the exact same proposal in a vote of 42-58. But apparently undeterred by this lopsided legislative defeat, President Biden decided he had the power to impose the very same $15/hour minimum wage that the Senate had just rejected on much of the workforce with a stroke of his pen.
In the lawsuit filed today, the coalition argues that the Contractor Minimum Wage Mandate violates the Procurement Act and the Spending Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The Biden administration purports that the Procurement Act grants it the authority to implement such a sweeping mandate. However, in reality, Congress passed the Act to provide the federal government with an efficient system for procurement amongst its agencies, not give it unrestricted power over the minimum wage.
Arizona’s current minimum wage as of January 1, 2022, is $12.80, and the Contractor Minimum Wage Mandate will preempt this minimum for a broad range of Arizona employers that are included in the Mandate, including many organizations that are not federal contractors at all. The Mandate was finalized by the Department of Labor on November 24, 2021, and went into effect on January 30, 2022.
The defendants, in this case, are the U.S. Department of Labor, the Wage & Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor, President Joseph Biden, the U.S. Secretary of Labor, and the Acting Administrator of the Wage & Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor.
Joining Arizona in this lawsuit are the attorneys general from Idaho, Indiana, Nebraska, and South Carolina.
Copy of coalition’s lawsuit available here.