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gblowfish
09-14-2005, 11:24 AM
What's really scary to me is the lack of coverage of this little tidbit by the media.

Bush lifts wage rules for Katrina

President signs executive order allowing contractors to pay below prevailing wage in affected areas.

September 11, 2005: 11:59 AM EDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - 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.

The Davis-Bacon law requires federal contractors to pay workers at least the prevailing wages in the area where the work is conducted. It applies to federally funded construction projects such as highways and bridges.

Bush's executive order suspends the requirements of the Davis-Bacon law for designated areas hit by the storm.

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.

"I regret the president's decision," said Kennedy.

"One of the things the American people are very concerned about is shabby work and that certainly is true about the families whose houses are going to be rebuilt and buildings that are going to be restored," Kennedy said.

Taco John
09-14-2005, 11:32 AM
Border Security Bush...

patteeu
09-14-2005, 11:42 AM
Bush critics are very creative. They can find a way to criticize anything he does.

patteeu
09-14-2005, 11:44 AM
Border Security Bush...

This thread has nothing to do with border security other than the stereotypical reference to (presumably illegal) Mexicans as low wage workers in the thread title.

Taco John
09-14-2005, 11:44 AM
Uh huh...

Because Americans are willing to work below the minimum wage levels prescribed by the government, right?

patteeu
09-14-2005, 11:47 AM
I'm sure what Miller and Kennedy prefer would be a requirement that only union labor can be used for rebuilding... no matter how much that would increase costs and drag out the timeline for recovery. Not to mention that it would reduce the opportunities flood victims would have to find gainful employment in the aftermath of this disaster. How compassionate. :rolleyes:

Taco John
09-14-2005, 12:00 PM
I'm not for unions, but at least Union Labor is American Labor.

Radar Chief
09-14-2005, 12:02 PM
I'm not for unions, but at least Union Labor is American Labor.

And the displaced residents of NO aren’t? :shrug:

patteeu
09-14-2005, 12:04 PM
I'm not for unions, but at least Union Labor is American Labor.

Other than the thread starter's editorial commentary, where does non-American labor come into this discussion? The article didn't say anything about illegal alien labor and I'm pretty sure Bush didn't make a statement about using illegals to rebuild Louisiana.

By waiving wage requirements, Bush is lowering barriers that would keep Americans who have lost their jobs in this disaster from getting work in the rebuilding effort.

Brock
09-14-2005, 12:42 PM
That's wrong.

jcl-kcfan2
09-14-2005, 01:55 PM
Uh huh...

Because Americans are willing to work below the minimum wage levels prescribed by the government, right?

It does not say "below minimum wage.

Phobia
09-14-2005, 02:52 PM
Uh huh...

Because Americans are willing to work below the minimum wage levels prescribed by the government, right?

Why the hell would they work when they can sit at home smoking food stamp purchased cigarettes all day?

patteeu
09-14-2005, 06:58 PM
Uh huh...

Because Americans are willing to work below the minimum wage levels prescribed by the government, right?

Americans who have lost their homes and their jobs and are looking for any kind of honest job they can find will work for whatever they can get. What's better when you need work, a $5.00 per hour job opening or a $10.00 per hour job that doesn't exist?

Taco John
09-14-2005, 08:18 PM
Americans who have lost their homes and their jobs and are looking for any kind of honest job they can find will work for whatever they can get. What's better when you need work, a $5.00 per hour job opening or a $10.00 per hour job that doesn't exist?


I, for one, don't know a single American who would be willing to work for $5.00 an hour. That's just me. They might exist. Maybe a hurricane victim is desperate enough to do it. But I'm very doubtful about that. Seems to me that they wouldn't want to take the unemployment pay cut.


Personally, I think you're just being purposefully naive about this. I think it's a silly act you're trying to keep up, but whatever. And I, for one, wouldn't care too much if it weren't for the fact that we are supposedly supposed to be on the look out for terrorists sneaking across the border. We're putting a pretty huge chunk of cheese out, and i'm not going to be suprised to learn that will attract the typical crowd who *is* willing to work for $5 bucks an hour. I'm just worried about the rats that get mixed into that crowd.

ExtremeChief
09-15-2005, 04:44 AM
There is a hell of a difference between minimum wage and prevailing wage. Prevailing wage jobs can be over 30 bucks an hour. I didn't see anywhere they were overriding the minimum wage laws.

MrDoggity
09-15-2005, 05:20 AM
How can there be this many posts and nobody get the point?

The Davis-Bacon Act applies only to government contracts. Suspending it does not provide any more jobs to anyone. These are jobs that are contracted to be done. The contractors will be paid in full for them and will be required do them with or without Davis-Bacon rules in place.

Suspending it serves only one purpose, to lower the operational costs of the mega corporations who mostly got no-bid contracts from the administration. Most of these contracts were signed before this action by the President, so they will be paid by WE the taxpayers at the standard rates which presume Davis-Bacon. In other words - taxpayers pay full price, but corporations pay 1/2 to 1/4 the prevailing wages.

Since payroll is by far the single largest expense for these jobs, this will serve assure the taxpayers get screwed, the workers, many of whom have already lost everything, get screwed, and Halliburton, SCI and the other contractors get their margins inflated two to four times by gorging themselves on YOUR tax dollars. It's called cronyism. It's bad anytime, but it's indefensibly immoral during a time of disaster.

Still in favor of it?

patteeu
09-15-2005, 05:43 AM
How can there be this many posts and nobody get the point?

The Davis-Bacon Act applies only to government contracts. Suspending it does not provide any more jobs to anyone. These are jobs that are contracted to be done. The contractors will be paid in full for them and will be required do them with or without Davis-Bacon rules in place.

Suspending it serves only one purpose, to lower the operational costs of the mega corporations who mostly got no-bid contracts from the administration. Most of these contracts were signed before this action by the President, so they will be paid by WE the taxpayers at the standard rates which presume Davis-Bacon. In other words - taxpayers pay full price, but corporations pay 1/2 to 1/4 the prevailing wages.

Since payroll is by far the single largest expense for these jobs, this will serve assure the taxpayers get screwed, the workers, many of whom have already lost everything, get screwed, and Halliburton, SCI and the other contractors get their margins inflated two to four times by gorging themselves on YOUR tax dollars. It's called cronyism. It's bad anytime, but it's indefensibly immoral during a time of disaster.

Still in favor of it?

Thanks for the clarification (regarding the application of the Davis Bacon act) and no thanks for the disinformation at the same time (regarding your unsupported assertion that most of the government contracts that will be issued are no-bid and have already been signed).

Yes I'm still in favor of it because it is a way of stretching the effectiveness of our tax dollars that are allocated toward the reconstruction.

According to Ronald D. Utt, Ph.D. of the Heritage Foundation (http://www.heritage.org/Research/Labor/wm836.cfm), the Davis Bacon act was originally intended to deny economic opportunity to African-American workers in the South.

Introduced in Congress in the early days of the Depression by Senator Davis of Pennsylvania and Representative Bacon of New York, the bill came in response to a building contract that the federal government awarded to a company whose low bid was based in part on its intention to use lower-cost African-American workers from the South on the project. By forcing all contractors to pay above-market wages, contractors no longer had the incentive to use less costly Southern workers—and could thus afford to discriminate by race because there was no longer any incentive to hire less expensive labor. As Alabama’s Rep. Clayton Allgood noted at the time, “Reference has been made to a contractor from Alabama who went to New York with bootleg labor. This is a fact. That contractor has cheap colored labor that he transports, and he puts them in cabins, and it is labor of that sort that is in competition with white labor throughout the country.”

Still against it?

Phobia
09-15-2005, 05:56 AM
I, for one, don't know a single American who would be willing to work for $5.00 an hour. That's just me. They might exist. Maybe a hurricane victim is desperate enough to do it. But I'm very doubtful about that. Seems to me that they wouldn't want to take the unemployment pay cut.


Personally, I think you're just being purposefully naive about this. I think it's a silly act you're trying to keep up, but whatever. And I, for one, wouldn't care too much if it weren't for the fact that we are supposedly supposed to be on the look out for terrorists sneaking across the border. We're putting a pretty huge chunk of cheese out, and i'm not going to be suprised to learn that will attract the typical crowd who *is* willing to work for $5 bucks an hour. I'm just worried about the rats that get mixed into that crowd.

I don't even know any Mexicans that are willing to work for $5.

Phobia
09-15-2005, 06:03 AM
According to Ronald D. Utt, Ph.D. of the Heritage Foundation (http://www.heritage.org/Research/Labor/wm836.cfm), the Davis Bacon act was originally intended to deny economic opportunity to African-American workers in the South.
George Bush doesn't care about black people!

patteeu
09-15-2005, 06:16 AM
George Bush doesn't care about black people!

True, but he does care about Mexicans, the other black people. :p

MrDoggity
09-15-2005, 06:19 AM
Thanks for the clarification (regarding the application of the Davis Bacon act) and no thanks for the disinformation at the same time (regarding your unsupported assertion that most of the government contracts that will be issued are no-bid and have already been signed).

Still against it?


First, thanks for the thanks, but there have been contracts already let to KBR (a Halliburton subsidiary) for $500 million, to Halliburton itself for $20 million, to Kenyon International (an SCI Subsidiary) for $50 million, $100 million to Shaw Group, $100 million to Fluor-Daniels, another $150 million to Bechtel, and others -- all of whom are political supporters of the Bush/Cheney administration -- that have been well documented in several papers and even on Fox News -- so this is far from unsubstantiated.

I don't have time right now to link them all, but this one piece in the Wall Street Journal does a fair job of listing most of them...
http://tinyurl.com/ceylm

Also, thanks for the link to the ultra-rightwing think tank, Heritage Foundation. I have read this before, or something substantially like it that was written in 1999 after Hurricane Floyd - in an effort to make Clinton look bad for not suspending Davis-Bacon, as Bush 41 had done after Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

I find it making a fundamentally flawed argument that because minorities are disenfranchised and thus tend to be by-in-large lower skilled this excuses lowering the prevailing wage. The two flaws with this are, first -- that the skill levels required for these jobs remain, regardless of the wages paid. If an electrician is required, then an electrician must be hired. This does nothing to help the minority worker who is not an electrician. Secondly -- this argument is EXACTLY the same as saying that because kids are flunking out of school, we should just lower the testing standards.

No. We should not lower the standards in schools, we should do a better job of teaching kids. And No. We should not lower prevailing wages because minorities are unskilled, we should help minority workers obtain the skills.

patteeu
09-15-2005, 07:05 AM
First, thanks for the thanks, but there have been contracts already let to KBR (a Halliburton subsidiary) for $500 million, to Halliburton itself for $20 million, to Kenyon International (an SCI Subsidiary) for $50 million, $100 million to Shaw Group, $100 million to Fluor-Daniels, another $150 million to Bechtel, and others -- all of whom are political supporters of the Bush/Cheney administration -- that have been well documented in several papers and even on Fox News -- so this is far from unsubstantiated.

I don't have time right now to link them all, but this one piece in the Wall Street Journal does a fair job of listing most of them...
http://tinyurl.com/ceylm

No need to link them, I believe you. Of course, even if your numbers are accurate, this represents less than $1 billion of government spending. What are they estimating that the government will end up shelling out as a result of Katrina? I'm not sure, but I am sure that $1 billion is the tip of the iceberg. If the next $1 billion (or $50 billion) results in 30% more bang for the buck, then lifting the Davis Bacon requirement for prevailing wages will be worth it.

Also, thanks for the link to the ultra-rightwing think tank, Heritage Foundation. I have read this before, or something substantially like it that was written in 1999 after Hurricane Floyd - in an effort to make Clinton look bad for not suspending Davis-Bacon, as Bush 41 had done after Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

I find it making a fundamentally flawed argument that because minorities are disenfranchised and thus tend to be by-in-large lower skilled this excuses lowering the prevailing wage. The two flaws with this are, first -- that the skill levels required for these jobs remain, regardless of the wages paid. If an electrician is required, then an electrician must be hired. This does nothing to help the minority worker who is not an electrician. Secondly -- this argument is EXACTLY the same as saying that because kids are flunking out of school, we should just lower the testing standards.

No. We should not lower the standards in schools, we should do a better job of teaching kids. And No. We should not lower prevailing wages because minorities are unskilled, we should help minority workers obtain the skills.

Your welcome. Ultra? LMAO. You must be planted at the far fringe of the left wing.

The "fundamental flaw" that you recognize is a misreading of the article I linked. He's not suggesting that minorities are the beneficiaries of President Bush's action. The references to minority labor were historical. He's suggesting that the taxpayer and the people whose lives have been disrupted by Katrina (minority and otherwise) will be the beneficiaries when each Federal dollar pays for more reconstruction.

Furthermore, as the author of the article points out, so-called "prevailing wage" is often greater than market wage. Yes, electrician work will still require an electrician, but it can be done by the qualified electrician who is willing to work for less.

Your analogy to lowering standards is lost on me, but your reference to unskilled minorities leads me to believe you've missed the point on this one too.

memyselfI
09-15-2005, 07:09 AM
Suspending it serves only one purpose, to lower the operational costs of the mega corporations who mostly got no-bid contracts from the administration. Most of these contracts were signed before this action by the President, so they will be paid by WE the taxpayers at the standard rates which presume Davis-Bacon. In other words - taxpayers pay full price, but corporations pay 1/2 to 1/4 the prevailing wages.

Since payroll is by far the single largest expense for these jobs, this will serve assure the taxpayers get screwed, the workers, many of whom have already lost everything, get screwed, and Halliburton, SCI and the other contractors get their margins inflated two to four times by gorging themselves on YOUR tax dollars. It's called cronyism. It's bad anytime, but it's indefensibly immoral during a time of disaster.
Still in favor of it?

Exactly. :clap:

I think it's going to drive down wages across the board in that region. That comes at the exact time when many of those people looking for jobs NEED the opportunity to make a regular wage. It's despicable.

WilliamTheIrish
09-15-2005, 08:59 AM
Sweet!!!

With a southern drawl we can rename the city New Juarez now.

WilliamTheIrish
09-15-2005, 09:09 AM
BTW, anybody know what the 'prevailing wage is in NO? (Prior to the storm of course)