Saturday, October 22, 2005

Seven dollars too much for Gulf Coast workers, says Pres. Bush

Brendan Danaher, AFGE's point man on the Hurricane Katrina aftermath, calls our attention to this item on TPM Cafe by Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), who has offered a resolution that would restore the fair wage protections, rescinded by President Bush, for the contruction workers who will rebuild the cities and towns of the Gulf Coast. Under a bill known as the Davis-Bacon Act, workers hired to rebuild after a disaster are guaranteed the prevailing wage in the region in which the disaster took place.

Here's Congressman Miller:
Every single House Democrat, 37 House Republicans, and one House independent are on record opposing the President's Gulf Coast wage cut - a clear majority of the House of Representatives. But Republican leaders in the House have refused to allow a vote to overturn the wage cut. Now it looks like they have no choice.

I was able to determine that, under the 1976 National Emergencies Act, I am able to force a vote within 15 calendar days of introducing a "Joint Resolution" - which I did at noon today. In this case, that means that if Congress doesn't act by Friday, November 4, I can go to the House floor and demand a vote on my resolution. Congress then has three days to schedule that vote.

So the bottom line is this: by the first or second week of November, there will be a vote on whether or not construction workers who are rebuilding the Gulf Coast will get a fair wage for their labor.
Note that we're not talking about some high-bottom wage here. In the Gulf Coast region, we're talking about a wage around $7.00 an hour. That's right: $7.00 to handle materials imbued with toxins and covered in mold. Seven dollars an hour to haul lumber, power tools, slop buckets--and who knows what else--around construction sites. Seven dollars an hour to risk life and limb in an environment so changed that its present constitution remains a mystery even to the experts. For this, President Bush thinks $7.00 per hour is too much.

If we've succeeded in making you mad as hell, please sign the petition being circulated by the AFL-CIO's Working Families network. And call your representative in Congress, and demand that he or she vote for Congressman Miller's resolution.

To read Rep. Miller's piece on TPM Cafe, click here.

Click here
to sign a petition demanding a fair wage for Gulf Coast workers.


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