Last summer during our family vacation, long before Hurricane Katrina, I noticed a man on the beach buying free drinks for everyone. When someone asked the occasion, he called out, “I just learned this is going to be one of the worst hurricane seasons in years.” A woman asked, “And you are celebrating - WHY?” He boasted, “I’m a government contractor. The bigger the storm, the richer I get, and there’s one hitting Cuba right about now.” His words made my skin crawl.
I thought of the man after Katrina hit the gulf, knowing he would be in line for the rebuilding feeding frenzy. Making matters worse, President Bush's first official response to the hurricane was to suspend the Davis-Bacon Act which would have allowed laborers to be paid the prevailing wage, which in New Orleans is $10.40 per hour. Now, thanks to the President’s suspension, contractors are free to hire workers at poverty wages.
With so many people desperately in need of work, and a systemic climate of poverty in the region, the President's action was simply wrong. Haven’t the people suffered enough than to now allow contractors to come and pay paupers wages to the workers? Isn’t this exactly the opposite of what we wish for our brothers and sisters?
We need to see that this decision is reversed.
Please write to your members on Congress and ask that they demand that the President honor the Davis-Bacon Act and allow workers to be paid a living wage.
(Here's the link: http://ga3.org/campaign/davisbacon)
Soon you will hear more about what FaithfulAmericans can do to create a climate of compassion, hope, and genuine justice for the victims of Katrina, and inevitably, the victims of Rita. But for now, we ask you take massive action on this one measure to compel Congress to reverse this unfortunate decision.
Your gifts, your prayers, and your actions on behalf of the victims and survivors do matter, both to their hearts and to their futures. More than $42,000 in relief has been sent to Church World Service by FaithfulAmericans for Katrina relief. Your prayers continue to sustain them. May your voice empower them now.
Blessings to you,
Vince Isner and your FaithfulAmerica Team
Send a letter to the following decision maker(s):
Below is the sample letter:
Subject: Tell the President to KEEP Davis-Bacon Act
Dear [decision maker name automatically inserted here],
I am writing as a person of faith to ask that you apply whatever pressure is necessary on the White House to get President Bush to reverse his suspension of the Davis-Bacon Act.
In the Gulf region, prevailing wages under the Davis-Bacon Act are at $10.40 per hour. The only people who could possibly benefit from the president's action are government contractors, including Halliburton. This action does nothing for the people of the Gulf region and sets a dismal precedent for creating a climate of justice in the region. After losing everything, are we also now willing to strip away even the possibility of working at a living wage?
I ask that you urge the President to think of the needs of the people first. If we cannot respond with just policies after such a tragedy has struck our nation, then we cannot hope to serve as an example for others to follow.
Please, let us step up to this challenge with the highest and best of our hearts and skills and
President George W. Bush
Click here to take action on this issue
Visit the web address below to tell your friends about this.
What's At Stake:
While the post-Katrina Gulf represents a paradise for contractors, it is a nightmare for ordinary workers who lack the protections of prevailing wage laws that have existed since the Great Depression. In the Gulf, prevailing wages under the Davis-Bacon Act will never make people rich: A laborer in New Orleans would receive $10.40 per hour in wages and fringe benefits. But the Bush administration’s suspension of the Davis-Bacon Act can and will drive down wages beyond government contracts and perpetuate the poverty so vivid on our television screens in the last two weeks. By suspending the act, contractors will be able to effectively set low wages since they will be a large percentage of the employers in the region. An administration that has thus far failed to veto a single spending bill bloated with earmarks, or to cut a single dime from tax cuts directed at multimillionaires, now proposes to squeeze out a few more pennies by cutting wages for people who today have no
Ordinary people don’t only lose on contracts. Today, price gouging is occurring both at the gas pump, where charges have reached $7 a gallon —and at the check-casher, where victims without bank accounts can be required to fork over up to 10 percent of their relief checks. To date the administration has done precious little to stop this profiteering.
(information: Robert Gordon, Jennifer Palmieri, Bracken Hendricks, Ana Unruh Cohen & Karen Davenport)
Campaign Expiration Date:
November 22, 2005