Dogmeat (dogmeatnyc) wrote,

Stop Bush's Assault on Katrina Victims' Wages

Campaign for America's Future |

Dear concerned people,

Last night, President Bush addressed the nation and told victims of Hurricane Katrina that "we will do what it takes, to help citizens rebuild their communities and their lives". But he didn't tell them how he has already tilted the rules for reconstruction to benefit those of wealth and privilege, while undermining the poor and middle-class families who have suffered the most.

Instead of embracing good jobs for the recently displaced, President Bush's first major act in the recovery effort was to suspend a law that requires federal contractors to pay workers a decent wage. And, at the same time, his administration signed no-bid contracts that will give billions to multi-national corporations like Halliburton without any guarantee that they will hire displaced people to rebuild their own communities.

If President Bush gets away with cutting wages for those involved in rebuilding, then we might as well hand the whole job over to corporate greed. We need you to engage in the first battle of what promises to be a long fight to ensure that the recovery effort is one that puts people first -- and not one that lines the pockets of corporate elites. Please, write your member of Congress and demand that decent family wages and employing the victims of Katrina be the bedrock of the rebuilding efforts.

Progressives stand resolute that we should rebuild the Gulf Coast for the victims of Katrina -- not just the privileged few. In the America we believe in, everyone that works hard should be entitled to a decent wage -- especially the people we want to help get back on their feet after this enormous disaster. We must reject the fundamental insult of the president's decree that Gulf Coast reconstruction workers should be paid low wages.

We believe that economic fairness should drive the rebuilding effort. Our government has an important role to play in guiding the economy so that we collectively build an expansive, enduring middle class. That's why the people who were hit by the storm must be treated justly and paid good wages for their hard work reconstructing their destroyed communities.

If we allow Bush's hucksterism to lull the Congress into overlooking his first outrageous action against the people of the Gulf, it will be just the beginning. The right wing is already advancing plans to use the Katrina emergency to steamroll legislation that rolls back environmental protections, suspends affirmative action and showers corporations with billions in tax breaks.

Please take action now to stop the right wing's first Katrina-related opportunism before it permeates the reconstruction effort. Tell your lawmakers to say no to corporate greed, and to ensure fair wages for Gulf Coast reconstruction workers.

When the people of the Gulf first needed help, George Bush's administration failed them. This is a unique moment in history where we can, and must, end the politics of privilege that have dominated our government under President Bush. It does not get much clearer than this -- it is time to put the needs of the many over the needs of the few. If we win this battle, it can set an important precedent for all of our work ahead to rebuild the Gulf Coast and rebuild America: the right wing agenda that favors privilege over people has no place here, and will not be tolerated.

Congressman George Miller has just introduced legislation to reinstate the wage protections that were suspended by decree of President Bush. Championed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, these protections require federal contractors to pay "prevailing" wages to workers. It's amazing that in the face of tragedy, President Bush still puts the interests of his corporate federal contractor friends ahead of the workers that will rebuild the Gulf. Tell your member of Congress that rebuilding the Gulf Coast must mean more than just profits for big corporations -- it must empower those recently displaced to make a decent wage while they rebuild their shattered communities and lives.

According to the Wall Street Journal, "Congressional Republicans, backed by the White House, say they are using relief measures for the hurricane-ravaged Gulf coast to achieve a broad range of conservative economic and social policies, both in the storm zone and beyond." [1]

We can't let this happen. The difference between our hope and their agenda is rooted in the fundamental idea that all people must be treated with dignity and respect. While the conservatives tell us that "You are on your own," we progressives believe that "We can solve any problem together." We have a plan to rebuild the Gulf Coast and rebuild America. And, ours are the priorities that put people first.

The battle begins with employing the recently displaced in good paying jobs. Tell your member of Congress to restore wage protections and give every displaced worker the salary they need to have a fair shot at rebuilding their lives.

Thank you so much for all you do.


Roger Hickey, Co-Director
Campaign for America's Future

P.S. We need you to help us get the word out. Please, forward this email to your friends and post these comments on your favorite blog or message board. Help us spread the word that now is the time to redefine America's priorities.

[1] Wilke, John R. & Mullins, Brody. "After Katrina, Republicans Back a Sea of Conservative Ideas." Wall Street Journal, 15 September 2005.

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