I received this from the foks at Call To Renewal last night:
I will be swift to bear witness...against those who oppress the hired workers in their wages, the widow and the orphan...and do not fear me, says the Lord of hosts (Malachi 3:5).
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.
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.
As people of faith, we believe every person has the right to productive work and to fair compensation for that work. Rebuilding New Orleans and the Gulf Coast means more than just clearing away the debris and erecting newer, stronger buildings. It means making budget and policy decisions that offer Gulf Coast workers and their families the best shot at a secure and dignified future. It means defending and upholding - not suspending - laws that were designed to keep hard-working people afloat in the American economy.
Members of Congress agree, and many are taking action to reinstate the wage protections enshrined in the Davis-Bacon Act. 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.
These numbers are encouraging, but they are not enough. In the words of Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), "The workers whose wages would be cut are the same women and men struggling to support their families and find new homes to replace the ones they lost in the hurricane. They deserve all the support we can give them, not a cut in pay when they can least afford one." It's time to act. The people of the Gulf coast are counting on us.
Visit the web address below to tell your friends about this.
If the facts here are accurate, this is disgusting. In the end though, I'm sure the trickle-down benefits to these folks making less than minimum wage will more than make up for it...