Friday, September 30, 2005

Oh, for crying out loud!

George Bush has, by Executive Order, suspended the application of the Davis-Bacon Act. Not outraged yet? I didn't know what it was either. In a nutshell, this law requires federal contractors to pay workers the prevailing regional wage for public construction projects. (But really, follow the link... there's more to it than that.)

In New Orleans that wage is about $9 an hour. Suspension of the act allows contractors to pay minimum wage ($5.15/hour, but I know you knew that.).

He SAID... He actually SAID the following: "As we clear away the debris of a hurricane, let us also clear away the legacy of inequality." Uh huh. And suspending the Davis-Bacon Act accomplishes that... how? There is an opportunity here to rebuild a New Orleans that offers the possibility of a dignified future for the people who were so painfully left behind in the old New Orleans. It seems to me that we need to uphold laws that give working people a fighting chance in the mainstream economy.

Some members of Congress agree and a bill is taking shape that will repeal the suspension of Davis-Bacon. It's called the Fair Wages for Hurricane Victims Act. The Senate's version is called Fair Wages for Hurricane Katrina Recovery Act.

It's time yet again to e-mail your Congressional Representative and your Senators. If you live where I live, here's how you can do it:

Representative Dennis Hastert
Senator Barack Obama
Senator Dick Durbin

Or, you can go here and Sojourners magazine will do it for you.

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