Support Low-Wage Federal Contractors

Show your support for the hard working, low-wage cleaning staff at a major Federal agency.

Federal employees are very fortunate to have received back pay for the time that they were recently furloughed during the Government shutdown. The back pay not only supports them financially, but also demonstrates the public's appreciation for what they do each and every day.

Many federal workers, upon returning to work, learned that the contracted staff who take such good care of them --- cleaning their offices, vacuuming their floors, emptying their trash, mopping their bathrooms, and much more every single day --- would not be receiving back pay from their employer. As a result, many employees have asked whether there is anything they can do to support their friends who were not receiving back pay, with a special focus on the hourly wage, low-income workers in their building.

Clearly every contractor who did not receive back pay during the shutdown must have faced some level of financial stress; however, we want to specifically reach out to the workers who already --- even without the shutdown --- battle on a daily basis just to make ends meet.

This page was created with the intention of supporting one specific group of workers: the janitorial staff at HUD headquarters in Washington, DC. (HUD = The US Department of Housing and Urban Development) Those who know them will agree that the custodians in the HUD headquarters building are a wonderful group of people. They are friendly, earnest, and hard working people. Many of them have worked at HUD for years, and many have families to support. These workers are employed through Melwood, a nonprofit organization that provides jobs for people living with disabilities. HUD has a contract with Melwood. Melwood is not required to, and indeed has opted not to, provide their employees with back pay. While Melwood employees could have filed for unemployment, unemployment insurance would provide only a portion of their already low wages.

A gap exists -- one that we can help to close, especially if we act quickly. Several Melwood employees are now struggling with questions like, "How am I going to pay for public transit next week?" and "How am I going to pay for my doctor's bill?" These are real issues that real Melwood employees have voiced to their HUD colleagues. Roughly 60% of the Melwood workers at HUD were furloughed during the recent shutdown. If we reach our target of $750, we could provide a modest gesture of support to our colleagues in the form of $25 grocery or metro cards for each furloughed employee. It's not much, but it would show them that people appreciate their hard work, and that we understand that the shutdown, combined with low wages, have led to challenges making ends meet.

So, in short, this page was set up to allow individuals to donate funds as a small gesture of support to the low-wage contractors at HUD who were affected financially by the shutdown. All funds raised will be converted to grocery cards and metro cards.

You can also learn more about low wage workers in the federal government by visiting

This page was created by a group of individuals, and in no way expresses the opinions or views of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
  • Jenn Jones 
    • $50 
    • 92 mos
  • Dawn Woollen 
    • $25 
    • 92 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $50 
    • 92 mos
  • Paul Olin 
    • $50 
    • 92 mos
  • Bryan Greene 
    • $100 
    • 92 mos
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Melanie Wolfgang 
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