Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Bush Suspends Davis-Bacon Law in Katrina Damaged Areas

Bush Suspends Prevailing-Wage Law in Katrina Zone

In a controversial move, President Bush decided to suspend the Davis-Bacon Act, the law which requires federal contractors to pay the prevailing or average pay in the region, in the hurricane-damaged areas of Alabama, Florida, Lousiana, and Mississippi. Believing that the Davis-Bacon act actually increases construction costs, Bush said that suspending it "will result in greater assistance to these devastated communities and will permit the employment of thousands of additional individuals."

His ruling infuriated labor leaders, as well as others who believe that suspending the law is actually an opportunity to exploit workers and further depress the area's living standard. From

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi noted that the Davis-Bacon Act was signed into law at "a time when scurrilous employers were taking advantage of the desperation of American workers to care for their families. At that time, and for more than 70 years since then, the federal government has demanded that when taxpayer money is spent, workers should be paid a livable wage.

"But today," she continued, " the Bush Administration demonstrated the latest example of its anti-worker agenda, with an executive order rescinding the requirements of the Davis-Bacon Act for areas hit by Hurricane Katrina. That means that as workers return to their lives and livelihoods on the Gulf Coast, the Bush Administration wants to use federal money to exploit them by paying less than the prevailing wage."

Opinions abound on the subject. What's yours?

To read Bush's proclamation, click here.

To read the Washington Post article, "Bush Suspends Pay Act in Areas Hit by Storm," click here.

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