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10/27/2005

Workers Win Fair Wages as Bush Backs off Davis-Bacon Suspension

Source: AFL-CIO

In response to working families and their unions, as well as community and religious groups and some members of Congress, President George W. Bush on Oct. 26 rescinded his executive order that allowed contractors to pay substandard wages to construction workers rebuilding Gulf Coast areas devastated by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The order, which suspended the federal
Davis-Bacon Act, now will expire Nov. 8.

Grassroots activists sent more than 350,000 e-mails and letters to their representatives demanding fair wages be reinstated for the Gulf Coast, where skilled, full-time workers average less than $20,000 a year in pay.

One of Bush’s first acts after Hurricane Katrina hit was suspending Davis-Bacon. Enacted in 1931, Davis-Bacon ensures high-quality work standards and community prevailing wage requirements for federally funded rebuilding projects. A few days after suspending Davis-Bacon, Bush also suspended affirmative action rules for Katrina contractors.

“President Bush has done the right thing by reversing his decision to suspend prevailing wage—but it’s only the first step. He must now reinstate affirmative action requirements for contractors in the Gulf and end his attempts to slash programs for working families while adding new tax breaks for the rich,” says
AFL-CIO President John Sweeney.

Thirty-seven House Republicans urged the White House to reverse the suspension, and Rep. George Miller led unanimous opposition by Democrats to the president’s suspension.

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