Labor and Working Families Caucus Co-Chairs Call On President Bush To Immediately Rescind Executive Order, Urge President To Protect Davis-Bacon Prevailing Wage Rights

Sep 15, 2005
Washington, D.C. -- The House Labor and Working Families Caucus Co-Chairs, Representatives Michael H. Michaud (ME-2), Stephen F. Lynch (MA-9) and Linda Sanchez (CA-39), announced today that they sent a letter to President George W. Bush requesting immediate rescission of his recent executive order to allow federal contractors rebuilding in the Hurricane Katrina-ravaged areas of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi to pay workers at rates below the prevailing wage. The Co-Chairs of the Labor and Working Families Caucus have been working closely with their House colleagues to ensure that workers’ rights and wages are protected.

 

"At a time when so many are working to rebuild their lives after the hurricane, it sets a dangerous precedent to waive these important worker protections,” the Co-Chairs stated in the letter.  "Undermining this basic worker protection law also serves to further economically depress a region that has been so devastated by natural destruction.  This is a cost we simply cannot afford.”

 

The Davis-Bacon law requires federal contractors to pay its workers at least the prevailing wage on construction projects, including highways, buildings, and bridges.  On September 8th, President Bush suspended the requirements of the Davis-Bacon law for designated areas hit by the storm.

 

The letter concludes: "Waiving the Davis-Bacon protections encourages contractors to take advantage of desperation, ultimately compromising the work quality on all construction projects.  The local workers themselves deserve the kind of fair wage rates that will lift up their circumstances and provide hope.  To deprive already suffering workers in this region the wage protections provided by Davis-Bacon, is to only victimize them a second time."

 

The text of the letter to President Bush appears below:

September 13, 2005

George W. Bush                                              

President of the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />United States of America

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Bush,

As co-founders of the House Labor and Working Families Caucus, we are writing to express our outrage regarding your executive order allowing federal contractors rebuilding in the Hurricane Katrina-ravaged areas of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi to pay rates below the prevailing wage.  We ask that you immediately rescind your executive order.

As you know, the Davis-Bacon law requires federal contractors to pay its workers at least the prevailing wage on construction projects, including highways, buildings, and bridges.  At a time when so many are working to rebuild their lives after the hurricane, it sets a dangerous precedent to waive these important worker protections.  Undermining this basic worker protection law also serves to further economically depress a region that has been so devastated by natural destruction.  This is a cost we simply cannot afford.

As you know, the federal government must help restore order to the Gulf region as well.  Waiving the Davis-Bacon protections encourages contractors to take advantage of desperation, ultimately compromising the work quality on all construction projects.  The people of the Gulf region who will be displaced for weeks, and perhaps for several years, deserve to return to home towns with secure and safe infrastructure.  The local workers themselves deserve the kind of fair wage rates that will lift up their circumstances and provide hope.  To deprive a worker who has already struggled in this region of Davis-Bacon wage rates is to victimize them a second time.

In an area so afflicted with poverty and with so many workers struggling to care for their families, waiving this basic worker protection is a big step in the wrong direction.  Again, we urge your immediate action to rescind this executive order.

                                                            Sincerely,

_________________              __________________            __________________

Michael H. Michaud                 Stephen F. Lynch                     Linda Sanchez

Member of Congress                Member of Congress                Member of Congress

 

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