Under Pressure: Bush Administration Reverses Hurricane Prevailing-Wage Cuts

Undoubtedly acting on our previous articles here and here, President Bush relented late last week and agreed to lift his executive order that had allowed federal contractors on Hurricane Katrina reconstruction projects to pay workers less than the local prevailing wage. Critics had said that waiving the prevailing-wage requirement allowed employers to pay"poverty wages."The White House did not announce the action. Instead, Andrew H. Card Jr., the White House chief of staff, revealed Bush's decision to several House Republicans during a meeting at the executive mansion, and the lawmakers happily disclosed the news afterward on Capitol Hill."It was fundamentally wrong for the Bush administration to hit workers when they were down by slashing wages, exacerbating the very poverty that the hurricanes exposed," said John Sweeney, president of the AFL-CIO. "Reinstating community wage standards will bring stability to the contacting process." The reinstatement of the wage rules will take effect Nov. 8.

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