Can Hurricane Survivors Survive More Bush "Compassion?"
On Sept. 8, President Bush issued an executive order suspending the application of the Davis-Bacon Act in the hurricane-ravaged areas of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. This alarming action virtually assures workers hired to rebuild the devastated region will be paid sub-poverty wages.

The law requires federal contractors to pay workers the average or "prevailing" regional wage for public construction projects. In New Orleans, that wage is just over $9 an hour. The act's suspension allows contractors to pay as little as $5.15 an hour - the current federal minimum wage - for these projects.

If you disagree with this decision, click here to let Congress know. Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) has introduced the "Fair Wages for Hurricane Victims Act," a bill that would repeal Bush's suspension of Davis-Bacon. This legislation has already garnered the bipartisan support of 199 cosponsors. Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) has introduced a similar measure, the "Fair Wages for Hurricane Katrina Recovery Act." This bill currently has 29 co-sponsors from across the political spectrum.

Addressing the nation from the French Quarter of New Orleans two weeks after Hurricane Katrina hit, the president vowed, "Throughout the area hit by the hurricane, we will do what it takes, we will stay as long as it takes, to help citizens rebuild their communities and their lives." The following day at a prayer service at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., Bush declared, "As we clear away the debris of a hurricane, let us also clear away the legacy of inequality."

Suspending the Davis-Bacon Act does just the opposite; it assures the persistence of the inequality that plagued much of the Gulf Coast long before Katrina. Workers who lost everything in the rising waters cannot be expected to support their families on $5.15 an hour. As these women and men begin to rebuild their lives and their communities, they desperately need a just wage from their government, not a pay cut.

Why on Earth would Bush do such a thing at such a time? To "make it harder for union contractors to win bids," perhaps?
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