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Bush order likely means lower wages for rebuilding (Union leaders angry)
Houston Chronicle ^ | September 15, 2005 | L.M. SIXEL

Posted on 09/15/2005 12:57:49 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife

SOME Houstonians who plan on moving to Louisiana and points east to get work in the Katrina rebuilding effort may discover their wages won't be as high as they might have expected.

That's because President Bush signed an executive order last week rescinding the rule that contractors on projects receiving federal money pay the prevailing wage in areas damaged by the hurricane.

"It's so important to have decent wages for these workers," said John Sweeney, president of the AFL-CIO. Sweeney visited the hurricane relief efforts in Houston and met with union leaders earlier this week.

Without it, he said, contractors will try to get away with paying the least amount they can, the federal minimum wage of $5.15 an hour.

"It's taking the low road," the union leader said.

The rule governing the prevailing wage — the average wage paid to workers in a specific trade in a certain geographic area — is supported by labor unions and other workers' rights organizations because it typically brings wages closer in line to union wages, which usually are higher than nonunion wages. Businesses oppose the prevailing wage because it pushes up costs and limits the number of workers they can hire. Lifting the rule will make the "unprecedented amount of federal assistance" go further and allow more workers to be hired, according to the president's order.

Union leaders angry

Labor union officials were outraged. Sweeney recalled how Bush tried to rescind the prevailing wage scale shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. But a group of congressional, labor and business leaders got together to beat back that effort.

But there's not a lot of bipartisan support this time, Sweeney said.

"I think it's a great idea," said Randy Magdaleno, chairman of the Hispanic Contractors Association of Houston, who was pleased with the president's order.

"It's less paperwork," said Magdaleno, who is also president of Frontier Contractors and is thinking of going to Louisiana to bid on some of the work. "People can actually get to work."

Overall, construction wages will probably fall, he said. But on the flip side, contractors will probably hire more people.

In Harris County, the prevailing wage for a journeyman electrician is $22.05 an hour plus $7.93 an hour for benefits, according to the Department of Labor. In Orleans Parish, the prevailing wage for the same job is $22.09 an hour and $6 in benefits.

Longtime goal

Prevailing wages were first imposed during the Depression to prevent an influx of federal money from depressing local wages.

Republicans have wanted to do away with prevailing wages for a long time, said U.S. Rep. Gene Green, D-Houston.

"They have been trying to eliminate the prevailing wage, and I don't want them to use this disaster as an excuse," Green said. "I'd hope a lot of the people hired from the Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama areas would be paid a decent wage to get back on their feet and rebuild their communities."

Green said he is supporting the bill filed earlier this week by Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., to reinstate the prevailing wage. But he doubts the bill will even get a hearing from the Republican-dominated House.

The only real hope to undo what the president has done, Green said, is to attach Miller's bill to other legislation.

Health care affected

The effect won't just be less money jingling in the pockets of those who are installing new roofs, running electrical wire or welding pipes together.

Taxpayers will end up footing much of the bill in a roundabout way, according to E. Dale Wortham, president of the Harris County AFL-CIO and a board member of the Harris County Hospital District.

With the requirement suspended for contractors to pay for employee benefits such as health insurance, many of the construction workers will end up at public health facilities when they get sick or injured.

In the end, Wortham believes it will be the contractors who will win.

lm.sixel@chron.com


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Extended News; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; US: Louisiana
KEYWORDS: aflcio; employment; federalfunding; hurricane; jobs; katrina; labor; neworleans; organizedlabor; rebuilding; unions; unionthugs; wages
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1 posted on 09/15/2005 12:57:50 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
rescinding the rule that contractors on projects receiving federal money pay the prevailing wage

Sleezy unions, looking to profit on this fiasco.

THERE IS NO PREVAILING WAGE in a city with no citizens.

2 posted on 09/15/2005 1:01:22 AM PDT by konaice
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To: konaice

LOL......I am just tired enough for that to make sense to me!


3 posted on 09/15/2005 1:02:50 AM PDT by Howlin
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

bttt


4 posted on 09/15/2005 1:04:05 AM PDT by malia (President Bush - a man of strength!! clinton - a paper tiger!!!!!!!)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

tell mr. sweeney to set up a picket line, i know a good spot in new orleans by a broken levee...


5 posted on 09/15/2005 1:04:48 AM PDT by JohnLongIsland
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Unions must die. Die, unions, die. DIE, DIE, DIE!!!!!!
6 posted on 09/15/2005 1:06:05 AM PDT by Hank Rearden (Never allow anyone who could only get a government job attempt to tell you how to run your life.)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Taxpayers will end up footing much of the bill in a roundabout way, according to E. Dale Wortham, president of the Harris County AFL-CIO and a board member of the Harris County Hospital District.

In the end, Wortham believes it will be the contractors who will win.

In the end, taxpayers will end up footing much of the bill . At the end of the day, it's the taxpayers who will win.

7 posted on 09/15/2005 1:29:01 AM PDT by kipita (Conservatives: Freedom and Responsibility………Liberals: Freedom from Responsibility)
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To: Hank Rearden

Unions are corrupt organizations who do not benefit their workers by bringing reasonable and safe working conditions like the early 20th century. San Diego has been hard hit by union's invasive and destructive involvement in politics. They're driving the city into bankruptcy with "illegal" pensions. At the state level, they've stolen hundreds of millions from member's paychecks to assault Arnold's attempts in saving California from turning into another Democrat socialist wasteland.


8 posted on 09/15/2005 1:36:52 AM PDT by newzjunkey (CA Freepers, HELP Enforce Our Border: http://www.CaliforniaBorderPolice.com/)
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To: kipita

I want a bill sent to Rep. Jefferson.

__________________________________________

Congressman Jefferson Must Resign


Editorial/Op-Ed

by Jennifer Monroe

NEW ORLEANS, LA -- (OfficialWire) -- 09/15/05 -- On September 2—five days after Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast — Congressman William Jefferson (shown here), who represents New Orleans and is a senior member of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, asked the National Guard that night to take him on a tour of the flooded portions of his congressional district. A five-ton military truck and a half dozen military police were dispatched.

According to Lt. Col. Pete Schneider of the Louisiana National Guard, during the tour, Jefferson asked that the truck take him to his home on Marengo Street. According to Schneider, this was not part of Jefferson's initial request.

While many of Jefferson's constituents and fellow-citizens were dying, the water unfortunately reached to the third step of the Congressman's house and so the vehicle pulled up onto the front lawn of his home so he wouldn't have to walk in the water. The eight-term Democratic congressman then went into the house alone, while the soldiers waited on the porch for about an hour.

According to an ABC News report, Jefferson emerged with a laptop computer, three suitcases, and a box about the size of a small refrigerator, which the enlisted men loaded up into the truck.

Jefferson must resign immediately. There is simply no excuse for any elected official to have used public resources (intended to save lives), to retrieve personal possessions, while people he is supposed to represent suffered and died.


http://news.baou.com/main.php?action=recent&rid=20510


9 posted on 09/15/2005 1:47:14 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
No, it is important to get the Govt OUT OF THE WAY and let the market set the wages. Unions do 2 thing. Protect the incompetent from the consequences of their actions. Hold back the productive to the pace and wages of the least efficient.
10 posted on 09/15/2005 1:51:54 AM PDT by MNJohnnie (Professional Journalism the Buggy Whip makers of the 21st century)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

How much did unions spend on the 2004 elections? How much have unions donated to the victims of Katrina?


11 posted on 09/15/2005 1:54:23 AM PDT by monocle
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
"It's so important to have decent wages for these workers," said John Sweeney, president of the AFL-CIO.

Union talk for we want free reign for pay-without-work and every other scam we're famous for. That's what "decent wages" means to the connected Sweeney and the rest of the union scum.

Unions have become an expression of corrupt socialism in the U.S.

No wonder they vote as a block Democratic.

12 posted on 09/15/2005 1:56:45 AM PDT by TheClintons-STILLAnti-American
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Jefferson must resign immediately. There is simply no excuse for any elected official to have used public resources (intended to save lives), to retrieve personal possessions, while people he is supposed to represent suffered and died.

As I stated in the previous post, Democrat elitist really don't care about their people. What they do care about is to be much, much better than them and to represent (pimp) them for their (the elitist) benefit.

13 posted on 09/15/2005 2:17:22 AM PDT by kipita (Conservatives: Freedom and Responsibility………Liberals: Freedom from Responsibility)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

"Union leaders angry

Labor union officials were outraged."

You mean they might withhold their support for Republicans in the future? Goodness. Give in to their demands we must.


14 posted on 09/15/2005 2:36:27 AM PDT by Past Your Eyes (I'm sitting here on the Group W bench)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
In Harris County, the prevailing wage for a journeyman electrician is $22.05 an hour plus $7.93 an hour for benefits, according to the Department of Labor. In Orleans Parish, the prevailing wage for the same job is $22.09 an hour and $6 in benefits.

That might fall some, but not to the $5.25 minimum wage. The market will guarantee that. There are fewer electricians than shovel monkeys and they'll need scads of them for all the buildings needing to be rebuilt or rehabbed.

15 posted on 09/15/2005 2:40:53 AM PDT by drlevy88
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

F! the unions.

Workers have a choice to accept the offered wage rate or not. The market (supply/demand for labor) will ultimately determine a fair wage.

If enough workers decide $5.15 is too little, it will force the contractor to offer more attractive wages to get the required amount of worker.

Simple supply/demand economics.


16 posted on 09/15/2005 2:41:43 AM PDT by roaddog727 (P=3/8 A. or, P=plenty...............)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
That's because President Bush signed an executive order last week rescinding the rule that contractors on projects receiving federal money pay the prevailing wage in areas damaged by the hurricane.

I believe the prevailing wage in NO is around $9.00 per hour, or $18k per year if my math is correct.

17 posted on 09/15/2005 2:47:09 AM PDT by va4me ("Government isn't the solution to the problem, it is the problem" - Ronald Reagan)
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To: Hank Rearden

For better or worse, unions brought about the modern 40 hour workweek and other things that would be quite strange and wonderful to someone stepping out of the 19th century into today's world. Unions that go too far nowadays don't need to be killed; they will effect their own suicide.


18 posted on 09/15/2005 2:48:13 AM PDT by drlevy88
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

Well to be a class act he should have told the guys to go save some people while he packed, then come back in an hour and get him and his stuff. But I can't blame him for retrieving the material if it was gummint business. At that point nobody knew if there were going to be more levee breaks and even higher flood waters.


19 posted on 09/15/2005 2:52:15 AM PDT by drlevy88
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To: Hank Rearden

So, what's your opinion on unions?


20 posted on 09/15/2005 2:55:15 AM PDT by Larry Lucido
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

Will it apply to out of state unlicensed scam artists?
These things seem to crawl out of the slime of every hurricane.
No answer required - it was purely rhetorical. Criminals tend to ignore the law, and people in a hurry for home repairs sometimes don’t check too closely on the company doing the work.


21 posted on 09/15/2005 2:56:51 AM PDT by R. Scott (Humanity i love you because when you're hard up you pawn your Intelligence to buy a drink.)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

With the amount of work to be done in the affected areas, some folks will end up making more than prevailing wage, others less, depending on the urgency of the rebuilding schedule and the area. The market will prevail.


22 posted on 09/15/2005 2:57:44 AM PDT by metesky (This land was your land, this land is MY land; I bought the rights from a town selectman!)
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To: metesky
The market will prevail.

Bump!

23 posted on 09/15/2005 2:58:58 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

Let's not have any gouging out there. The unions can't be seen as making a profit out of all this.

They should do it for "the Children".


24 posted on 09/15/2005 3:21:54 AM PDT by PeteB570
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

Oh dear! No graft, payoffs, feather bedding etc, etc, for Sweeney's thugs. What a world.


25 posted on 09/15/2005 3:28:57 AM PDT by Jimmy Valentine (DemocRATS - when they speak, they lie; when they are silent, they are stealing the American Dream)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

This will be great for Bush's Guest Worker program. Not enough Americans will want those jobs at what the contractors are willing to pay, so bring them in from Mexico.


26 posted on 09/15/2005 3:31:24 AM PDT by Non-Sequitur
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To: konaice

It the contractors are not willing to pay the wages prevailing in Houston or Dallas, then I assume that the costs for their services that they charge will also be less than what they would charge in Houston and Dallas?


27 posted on 09/15/2005 3:33:38 AM PDT by Non-Sequitur
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

As a constituent of Dollar Bill Jefferson, I can understand his foray into his house...ya see, the Feds earlier had removed some $470K from his freezer in some kind of sting operation...Rep. Jefferson went into his house because he still had some cash in the freezer and ya know how stinky things get when you lose power...


28 posted on 09/15/2005 3:45:26 AM PDT by MarkT
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To: Non-Sequitur
This will be great for Bush's Guest Worker program. Not enough Americans will want those jobs at what the contractors are willing to pay, so bring them in from Mexico.

***...."I think it's a great idea," said Randy Magdaleno, chairman of the Hispanic Contractors Association of Houston, who was pleased with the president's order.

"It's less paperwork," said Magdaleno, who is also president of Frontier Contractors and is thinking of going to Louisiana to bid on some of the work. "People can actually get to work." ........***

29 posted on 09/15/2005 3:45:54 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: MarkT
ya see, the Feds earlier had removed some $470K from his freezer in some kind of sting operation.

Oh buhrother. Why hasn't he quit. This is not an eccentric. This is a crook.

30 posted on 09/15/2005 3:46:49 AM PDT by drlevy88
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To: Non-Sequitur
It the contractors are not willing to pay the wages prevailing in Houston or Dallas, then I assume that the costs for their services that they charge will also be less than what they would charge in Houston and Dallas?

Of course! My brother owns a janitorial company. He specializes in post-construction cleanup. So, when a new office building is constructed, he goes in and cleans up prior to the customer moving in. He typically pays his people between $8 and $10 per hour.

When he does a state contract job (school, university, etc) he has to pay prevailing wage---which is upwards of $23 per hour.

Prevailing wage is just another crutch propping up the existence of unions. Without it, taxpayers could build new schools and facilities much cheaper and unions would whither away.

31 posted on 09/15/2005 3:57:15 AM PDT by Erik Latranyi (9-11 is your Peace Dividend)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

Im sure we heard all the afl-cio leaders stand up and say..." we will do our part by dropping our dues and pay so more people can work to rebuild. You are heard that didn't you? No??? ....hmmm that's strange...


32 posted on 09/15/2005 4:08:02 AM PDT by Walkingfeather
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
In Harris County, the prevailing wage for a journeyman electrician is $22.05 an hour plus $7.93 an hour for benefits, according to the Department of Labor. In Orleans Parish, the prevailing wage for the same job is $22.09 an hour and $6 in benefits.

That's a bargin. In NYC the extortion rate (I mean prevailing wage) for electicians is $24.80 per hour plus $14.12 in bennies.

33 posted on 09/15/2005 4:21:42 AM PDT by Labyrinthos
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To: Labyrinthos
Another group of leftist scum finally gets the message: "You can say George Bush is a 'dumb frat boy' all you want, but act on that stupid notion at your own peril."
34 posted on 09/15/2005 4:35:59 AM PDT by jmaroneps37 (The quisling ratmedia: always eager to remind us of why we hate them.)
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To: Non-Sequitur
This will be great for Bush's Guest Worker program. Not enough Americans will want those jobs at what the contractors are willing to pay, so bring them in from Mexico.

President Fox said..."The reconstruction of that city [New Orleans] and of that region is going to require a lot of labor. And if there is anything Mexicans are good at, it is construction."

Feds Relax Hiring Rules For Storm Vicitims Who Lost Documentation - employers can simply state a potential worker was unable to provide documents because of the hurricane, according to a Homeland Security spokesperson. The policy is being implemented nationwide and subject to review in 45 days. Thread

Migrants working in Biloxi - As Biloxi rises from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, it is doing much of it on the backs of undocumented foreign workers. Some are starting to suggest that their contributions are worth at least a temporary visa. - Thread

35 posted on 09/15/2005 5:11:57 AM PDT by DumpsterDiver
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To: jmaroneps37

Senator Landrieu: I am not going to level criticism at local and state officials. Mayor Nagin and most mayors in this country have a hard time getting their people to work on a sunny day.

Thats because they are union workers, idiot.


36 posted on 09/15/2005 5:33:08 AM PDT by UglyinLA
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

To paraphrase Cindy Sheehad, I am against the union, but I support the union workers.


37 posted on 09/15/2005 5:38:31 AM PDT by UglyinLA
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

What a pant load.


38 posted on 09/15/2005 5:39:09 AM PDT by satchmodog9 (Murder and weather are our only news)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

I fear that illegal's may sweep in for the cheap labor, and provide justification to the libs for their existance in the US.


39 posted on 09/15/2005 5:42:40 AM PDT by Very Goldwater
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To: UglyinLA
I am against the union, but I support the union workers

That is a fantastic line. Is it yours, or did you see it somewhere?
40 posted on 09/15/2005 5:50:28 AM PDT by babyface00
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Without it, he said, contractors will try to get away with paying the least amount they can, the federal minimum wage of $5.15 an hour.

That's the only statement he made that's true. The rest is a steaming pile

However, workers won't work at minimum wage, contractors will have to pay what the market dictates, not what the union dictates. That's why the union bosses are mad.

41 posted on 09/15/2005 5:51:11 AM PDT by Balding_Eagle (God has blessed Republicans with really stupid enemies.)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
"It's so important to have decent wages for these workers," said John Sweeney, president of the AFL-CIO.Without it, he said, contractors will try to get away with paying the least amount they can, the federal minimum wage of $5.15 an hour. "It's taking the low road," the union leader said.

I don't hear the AFL-CIO "shouting from the mountain top", that the men and women in uniform, in our military deserve to get at least the minimum wage. The average NG soldier working the next 30 days, in the hurricane region, for an average of 12 hours a day. Will receive from $3.43 to $4.48/hr, and not receive overtime pay when they exceed 8hrs in a day. That is before state, federal, fica, and other taxes are taken out. I guess they don't care, since they can't get any union dues out of them, to line their pockets!!!

The rule governing the prevailing wage — the average wage paid to workers in a specific trade in a certain geographic area — is supported by labor unions and other workers' rights organizations because it typically brings wages closer in line to union wages, which usually are higher than nonunion wages. Businesses oppose the prevailing wage because it pushes up costs and limits the number of workers they can hire. Lifting the rule will make the "unprecedented amount of federal assistance" go further and allow more workers to be hired, according to the president's order.

1. The following GREAT projects of the 20th century could not have been created if the system of "prevailing wages" were followed.
a. Mount Rushmore.
b. The Hoover Dam.
c. Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA)
d. And numerous other "New Deal" projects.

2. Yes there will be a need to bring expert and trained workers from other states to Louisianna to rebuild it. But also, there should be a requirement for every "able-bodied" MAN & WOMEN that were evacuated from LA, and especially New Orleans, be brought back to the area, and help with the reconstruction.

a. Let's see if ole Jimmy Carter can work a MASSIVE "Habitat for Humanity" Project, in New Orleans. He still owes us for the disasters he caused during his four (4) years in the White House!!!

b. The activist like Jesse Jackson demand jobs for poor minorities, well now there will be many, and probably last for years. Plus, this will give these individuals a trade, that if they decide to eventually leave New Orleans and surrounding hurricane affected areas, they will have learned skills that they can take with them. Better than any gov't training program, that are squandered with waste by activists like Jesse Jackson, and his Rainbow Coalition.

Prevailing wages were first imposed during the Depression to prevent an influx of federal money from depressing local wages. Republicans have wanted to do away with prevailing wages for a long time, said U.S. Rep. Gene Green, D-Houston.

More like the practice of "prevailing" wages" were implemented "after" the Great Depression years, and during the WWII years, in the many war plants that were built. During the New Deal Days, many workers came to earn after a 16 hr/day, less than $5.00/day minus federal income tax, which was also introduced then.

42 posted on 09/15/2005 6:03:47 AM PDT by rerat0120
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To: DumpsterDiver

::Some are starting to suggest that their contributions are worth at least a temporary visa. ::

At least those people are working. I have an idea, let's send those looters and whiners from NO to Mexico and allow those illegals who have a work ethic a temporary visa. I have a feeling we would be getting the better deal.


43 posted on 09/15/2005 6:12:01 AM PDT by CajunConservative ("Dem's can bus people to the polls but can't bus them out of danger to save their lives.")
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To: CajunConservative
let's send those looters and whiners from NO to Mexico and allow those illegals who have a work ethic a temporary visa.

If those with a work ethic weren't also the same people willing to break any law that impedes their desire to "just have a better life", then I might agree with you.

Besides, Mexico wouldn't take the looters and whiners. ;^)

44 posted on 09/15/2005 6:54:28 AM PDT by DumpsterDiver
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To: MNJohnnie
No, it is important to get the Govt OUT OF THE WAY and let the market set the wages. Unions do 2 thing. Protect the incompetent from the consequences of their actions. Hold back the productive to the pace and wages of the least efficient.

Without unions, without government intervention and with large supply of labor the wages will stabilize at the subsistence level.

In free market context the wages are seen as the cost/expense/necessary evil so the market optimization will bring them to the minimum.

45 posted on 09/15/2005 7:02:04 AM PDT by A. Pole (" There is no other god but Free Market, and Adam Smith is his prophet ! Bazaar Akbar! ")
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To: DumpsterDiver

I know that they should not be given temporary visas but honestly I would rather have a hard working illegal as a neighbor than the thugs of NO. I've live in the NO area and know that some of the things we saw happened before.

Perhaps we need to look at how the visas are alloted so at least we know who's here, if thorough background checks are done with temporary visas. Mexico isn't that stupid to take the thugs.


46 posted on 09/15/2005 7:03:25 AM PDT by CajunConservative ("Dem's can bus people to the polls but can't bus them out of danger to save their lives.")
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To: A. Pole
Without unions, without government intervention and with large supply of labor the wages will stabilize at the subsistence level.

In free market context the wages are seen as the cost/expense/necessary evil so the market optimization will bring them to the minimum.

Actually, depending on the model you use, it would stabilize below subsistence. That way it keeps the workers beholden to the "company store".

47 posted on 09/15/2005 7:37:20 AM PDT by redgolum ("God is dead" -- Nietzsche. "Nietzsche is dead" -- God.)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

Let the Market decide!


48 posted on 09/15/2005 8:31:35 AM PDT by upcountryhorseman (An old fashioned conservative)
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To: Non-Sequitur
This will be great for Bush's Guest Worker program. Not enough Americans will want those jobs at what the contractors are willing to pay, so bring them in from Mexico.

"...many of the construction workers will end up at public health facilities when they get sick or injured."

Since many will be illegals, they'll be on the public dole anyhow when it comes to health insurance. We may as well save some money on the front end.

This would be a perfect opportunity for some lawyer to send in some folks for jobs with these construction companies that hire illegals.

If turned away for a job, sue them.

49 posted on 09/15/2005 8:52:41 AM PDT by VeniVidiVici (When a Jihadist dies, an angel gets its wings)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

Supply and demand and maybe even skill will dictate what wages are paid, what a concept.


50 posted on 09/15/2005 9:08:45 AM PDT by tiki
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