Thursday, October 27, 2005

Fair-pay provision for post-Katrina construction workers reinstated
Your signatures and congressional pressure bring victory for workers and their families

Under pressure from both Democrats and moderate Republicans, President Bush relented on his revocation of the fair-pay provisions of the Davis-Bacon Act, which guarantee the prevailing regional wage to workers engaged in rebuilding efforts after a federally designated disaster. From the Associated Press:

WASHINGTON - The Bush administration will reinstate rules requiring that companies awarded federal contracts for Hurricane Katrina pay prevailing wages, usually an amount close to the pay scales in local union contracts.

The White House promised to restore the 74-year-old Davis-Bacon prevailing wage protection on Nov. 8, following a meeting between chief of staff Andrew Card and a caucus of pro-labor Republicans.
A great deal of credit for the turnabout belongs to Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), who deployed a little-known parliamentary maneuver in the House that ultimately forced the president's hand. Here, from Jonathan Tasini at The Working Life:
Here's what I hear from my Capitol Hill sources: the president, who suspended the Davis Bacon provisions that guarantee people working on federal contracts are paid the prevailing wage, was concerned that he not be seen as caving in to Democrats. The Dems were lead by Rep. George Miller, who used a little known parliamentary motion to force a vote on the suspension.

Under pressure, Bush agreed to rescind the suspension by December 8th. But at least one Republican said that he would vote for the Miller resolution if the suspension was not lifted earlier. And no question that the fact that the Building Trades put pressure on Congressional Republicans (37 signed the letter to Bush supporting the reinstatement of Davis Bacon) helped. In any case, Bush caved. The suspension will be lifted on November 8th.


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