President Obama took action this summer to crack down on federal contractors with long records of violating workplace laws and to ensure they clean up their acts before receiving new contracts. The executive order will have little impact on the majority of contractors, who respect their workers and obey workplace laws. But for workers like me that have been shortchanged by our employers, it will make a huge difference.
I previously worked at the Tooele Chemical Agent Disposal Facility in Utah, which was used by the Army to destroy chemical weapons. The work was dangerous — carrying a gas mask at all times was mandatory — and required me to put in long hours, but I was proud to do it because it was important to the safety of our nation. I worked at the facility for 16 years, starting as a janitor and progressing to control room operator.