CommunityPam's House Blend

I don't f*cking believe this – Bush kills minimum wage rules for 'national emergency'

[UPDATE: I added a map showing the states in the disaster zone are “Right to Work” states, which means contractors will really low-ball workers to “get the job done.”]

He gives — the $2000 debit cards for evacuees (which they are now deep-sixing) and the $51B aid package — and he then he takes away with this balls-out move. Just when you think the man in the White House cannot hit the people hurt in this disaster any damn more, he finds a new way to do it.

Under the guise of “helping to rebuild” in devastated areas (and fattening contractor wallets), your President thinks people will get their lives back together by allowing employers to pay a slave wage. Halliburton should rake in an even bigger profit with this move, as those no-bid contracts are awarded. Wake me up and tell me this is not happening? (CNN):

President Bush issued an executive order Thursday allowing federal contractors rebuilding in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to pay below the prevailing wage.

In a notice to Congress, Bush said the hurricane had caused “a national emergency” that permits him to take such action under the 1931 Davis-Bacon Act in ravaged areas of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi.

Bush’s action came as the federal government moved to provide billions of dollars in aid, and drew rebukes from two of organized labor’s biggest friends in Congress, Rep. George Miller of California and Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts, both Democrats.

The administration is using the devastation of Hurricane Katrina to cut the wages of people desperately trying to rebuild their lives and their communities,” Miller said.

President Bush should immediately realize the colossal mistake he has made in signing this order and rescind it and ensure that America puts its people back to work in the wake of Katrina at wages that will get them and their families back on their feet,” Miller said.

Oh, and this should inflame the Freepers as well, because it will mean the contractors can do the limbo and goes as low as humanly possible, creating a flood of opportunities to exploit the Mexican workers already streaming across our southern border. Bush is a f*cking mental and moral giant.

***

Commenter Oddjob rightfully pointed out the “prevailing wage” point, which could, in union jobs mean much higher than the minimum wage. But all bets are off in Right to Work states, which mean traditional union employment (and wages) for the most part, doesn’t exist:

As you can see, the right to work in the disaster region is the “right to work for less” and for contractors to make more buxxx. As the Teamster’s site notes,

There is a misunderstanding that organizing is somehow different, or more difficult, in so-called right-to-work-for-less states. In fact, organizing law and procedure is the same in right-to-work and non-right-to-work states. The only differences are that workers in states that have passed these so-called right-to-work laws are paid considerably less on average, and the states are more likely to have unfavorable political conditions.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding