I. From a friend:
NY Times: “The Labor Department has temporarily suspended government requirements that its contractors have an affirmative action plan addressing the employment of women, members of minorities, Vietnam veterans and the disabled [this includes disabled veterans] if the companies are first-time government contractors working on reconstruction in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.”
Bush is anti-veteran to the bone: In a Rovian power grab conveniently blamed on the catastrophic Hurricane Katrina, Bush suspended Federal contracting rules that require government contractors to hire war veterans and disabled veterans. At a time when returning war veterans face twice the unemployment rate of same-aged peers, Bush’s new policy is unconscionable. When does he get arrested and thrown in jail for going in the face of decades of progress? Will Bush and the Republican ideologues eventually declare the world flat and order us to believe his lies?
II. This one too is worth your time (although I don’t endorse its xenophobic implications):
please read about this when you have a moment, and pass along the info to friends who care. I was just told about these two events and I believe someone has to do something to stop it.( That means we all contact our representatives and speak up. We can make this change.)
In light of the tragedy of the Gulf Coast hurricane damage President Bush has suspended several very critical protective acts. These are outlined in the MSN article below: http://msnbc.msn.com/id/9259887/
Most of these changes involve the Jones Act and Davis-Bacon Act, which protect our shipping and minimum wages on federal contract jobs. (ALL of the gulf coast rebuilding has been no-bid awarded to Haliburton subsidiaries.) The suspensions open the door to illiegals to get $4.00 per hour jobs, instead of a decent wage being paid to the ones who need it most-the victims of the hurricane, who have no other home to go back to.
This is all just below the radar, but just happened this last few weeks- the Davis-Bacon suspension happening Sept 8. I don’t care if you are Republican, Democrat, libertarian, whatever. NO US president should employ these tactics under the guise of reconstruction of the devastated areas which will really put huge profits in the pockets of his supporters, and lay the groundwork for future labor law, immigration, and safety relaxations. These acts have opened our borders to illegals (dare I say potential terrorists?) by allowing illegals to legally operate shipping in our waters, and employing illegals and desperate foreigners (to whom $4.00 an hour is a gold mine) free access to our pipelines, oil refineries,and construction industry. These government contracts at below minimum wage will NEVER go away – from now on, there are no wage guarantees. Need a quick “so what?”- Jim works as a merchant mariner in the marine construction industry- the VERY industry these repeals affect- for him this means the need for his twenty years of experience and education and certifications can be wiped out by one contract for a captain from say for example a Latin American country where the standards are lower, costs are lower, and safety is an issue- but the wage will be less than 1/3 of what Jim has earned through his education and experience. the new contractor won’t pay that foreign captain health care or disability, it won’t provide a means for that captain to learn US Federal rules, because they no longer apply- get it? It’s all baby steps but each one moves us into dangerous and unprotected territory- our future.
For more Jones Act discussions, see http://www.lawkt.com/files/Jones_Act.html