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September 14, 2005

Bush: Suspend Wage Rules for Service Workers

Having suspended prevailing wage rules for construction work under the Davis-Bacon Act, the Bush brigade now wants to suspend rules requiring decent wages for service workers:

Labor Department and White House officials are examining a similar move for service workers covered by the McNamara-O'Hara Service Contract Act, which extended prevailing wage rules to service workers. Administration officials are concerned that workers on demolition and debris removal jobs could protest that even with construction wage supports lifted, they should be paid prevailing wages because their work is more service-related than construction-related.
Here is where the administration desire to subcontract everything in sight hoists them on their own petard.  Since support services will probably get distinct contracts from obvious construction efforts, they are stuck with a lot of employment that demands prevailing wages under the Service Contract Act.

But the Bush folks face a problem in suspending the Service Contract Act.

Davis-Bacon has a specific provision allowing the President to suspend it during a national emergency.

The Service Contract Act does not, and its suspension may be unprecedented, labor experts say.
Given that the government may be running a whole range of support services for reconstruction efforts, if service workers are getting prevailing wages and the construction workers are not, you can expect hell to pay by those construction workers.

But the Bushies will be immediately in court if they suspend the Service Contract Act.

Do they really want a full-blown court case highlighting their attacks on decent wages, even as the working poor in Louisiana and Mississippi, led by groups like ACORN, are protesting their callousness?

Posted by Nathan at September 14, 2005 01:08 PM