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Obama to order federal contractors to disclose labor violations

By Amanda Becker

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama will sign an executive order on Thursday that would require potential government contractors to disclose past labor law violations, a White House official said.

The order will signal the president's willingness to "double down" on his commitment to American workers and ensure fair wages and workplace safety, the official said on Wednesday.

"While the vast majority of federal contractors play by the rules, every year tens of thousands of American workers are denied overtime wages, not hired or paid fairly because of their gender or age, or have their health and safety put at risk by corporations contracting with the federal government," the official said in a prepared statement.

Obama is expected to make the announcement at a White House event on Thursday.

Democratic Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa, the top lawmaker on the chamber's Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, praised Obama's decision.

"The executive order announced by the White House is a bold response to a report I released last year," Harkin said in a statement. "My report found that in 2012 alone, taxpayers provided more than $80 billion in contracts to companies that had committed significant violations of our basic labor laws."

(Reporting by Amanda Becker; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and Mohammad Zargham)

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