America’s working families were outraged when President Bush slashed wages for workers in the hurricane-hit areas, and they’ve won a huge victory today by forcing Bush to restore prevailing wage requirements in the Gulf on November 8.

Bush reversed his decision after a public outcry and bipartisan opposition to his worker pay cut in the House and Senate. Over 350,000 letters to Congress have been sent from AFL-CIO activists alone. The Bush Administration could count the votes.

From day one, 37 House Republicans urged the White House to reverse the suspension, and Congressman George Miller led unanimous opposition by Democrats to the President’s suspension, and Senator Edward Kennedy led the charge in the Senate.

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. Workers deserve prevailing wage protections which guarantee a living wage, especially for work done with America’s tax dollars.

Reinstating community wage standards will bring stability to the contracting process, so that all contractors – in state and out of state — will have to compete on factors other than how low they can cut wages for their workforce.

It will also reinstate certified payroll requirements, which provide key data on what workers are being paid and if the proper wage is being paid, making sure there are not ghost employees and making sure that workers are not being misclassified as independent contractors and thus being robbed of benefits.

Bush has done the right thing by reversing his decision to suspend prevailing wage – – but it’s only the first step. He must now reinstate affirmative action requirements for contractors in the Gulf, and end his attempts to slash programs for working families while adding new tax breaks for the rich.

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