Forty workers went on strike Wednesday morning. They joined over 1,000 activists calling on the White House and Congress to require federally contracted workers to be paid more.
The strike was organized in part by Good Jobs Nation.
The workers consist mostly of cafeteria workers and janitorial staff.
President Obama has say over the federally contracted employees by using an executive order to mandate the companies who employ them. This process has been used to raise wages or to fight discrimination in the past.
The protesters were joined by Bernie Sanders (I/D-VT). Sanders is an Independent from Vermont who caucuses with the Democrats. He is looking at running for President in 2016 and is a big proponent of minimum wage increases.
“What we are saying today is pretty simply, that the taxpayers of this country want to make sure that when government contracts are made, those employers who get those contracts pay workers a living wage, a great nation will not survive, in my view, when so few have so much and so many have so little.” Sanders said.
Obama has met one of the group’s previous requests. He signed an executive order into effect to require federal contractors to pay staff members a minimum wage of $10.10 per hour.
“I am walking off my job because I want the presidential hopefuls to know that I live in poverty,” wrote Bertrand Olotara, a U.S. Senate cook in The Guardian. She said presidential hopefuls must make income inequality a major issue or say how they will address it.