Continuing our look at "Gulf Coast slaves", this time that part dealing with contract transparency:
...James Hale, a vice president of the Laborers' International Union of North America [says] "To my knowledge, not one member of Congress has been able to get their hands on a copy of a contract that was handed out to Halliburton or others... There is no central registry of Katrina contracts available. No data on the jobs or scope of the work." Hale says that his union's legislative staff has pressed members of Congress for more information; apparently the legislators were told that they could not get copies of the contracts because of "national security" concerns.
"If the contracts handed out to these primary contractors are opaque, then the contracts being let to the subcontractors are just plain invisible," Hale says. "There is simply no ability to ascertain or monitor the contractor-subcontractor relationships. This is an open invitation for exploitation, fraud and abuse."
...the dozens of KBR subcontractors that employ [the illegal aliens from the article] operate under public-private agreements like federal Task Order 0017, which defines the scope of work to be fulfilled under the contracts. Under the multimillion-dollar Department of Defense contract, KBR is supposed to provide services for "Hurricane Katrina stabilization and recovery at Naval Air Station Pascagoula, Naval Air Station Gulfport, Stennis Space Center and other Navy installations in the Southeast Region," according to a Defense Department press release.
But the details of the agreements remain murky. "Not only is it very difficult to see the actual signed DoD contracts, but it is nearly impossible to see the actual task orders, which assign the goods or services the government is buying," says Scott Amey, general counsel for the Project on Government Oversight in Washington. The military can ask for goods and services on an as-needed basis, he says, which means that the contracts, which add up to tens of millions of dollars, can remain open ended. According to DoD press statements, the contracts call for considerable manual labor, including "re-roofing of most buildings, barracks, debris removal from the entire base, water mitigation, mold mitigation, interior and exterior repairs to most buildings, waste treatment plants, and all incidental related work."
Simitrio and any other workers on the high-security military bases must get permission before entering the guarded gates, where they get patted down by M-16-wielding military police. Responsibility for getting private-sector construction and cleanup workers on the bases rests with the general contractor -- in KBR's case, security chief Kevin Flynn. One of Flynn's responsibilities is to negotiate passes and entry for KBR subcontractors -- and their hires -- to do the work stipulated by the task order.
Yet, following several complaints by Landrieu, and just a few days after President Bush visited the Belle Chasse base, agents from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency raided the facility and detained 10 workers who ICE spokeswoman Jamie Zuieback said had "questionable" documentation...
Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco, flanked by veteran Democratic activists and a union leader, criticized the Bush administration on Saturday for allowing hurricane rebuilding contracts to go to out-of-state firms and low-wage workers.
Speaking to a rally of about 1,000 union members and activists from the steps of the state Capitol, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton also charged the White House with using the crisis to remake the state's political map by discouraging the return of displaced blacks...
I don't know if anyone there said it, but those "low-wage workers" are, in fact, mostly illegal aliens. The article goes on to quote some race-baiting from Jackson, and I'm sure that from Sharpton was even worse. Perhaps they should concentrate on rebuilding jobs for Americans instead of their usual BS. I'm sure they'd get much more support from the rest of the country if they just concentrated on that.
From the AFL-CIO comes AFL-CIO News: Workers Win Fair Wages as Bush Backs off Davis-Bacon Suspension:
In response to working families and their unions, as well as community and religious groups and some members of Congress, President George W. Bush on Oct. 26 rescinded his executive order that allowed contractors to pay substandard wages to construction workers rebuilding Gulf Coast areas devastated by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The order, which suspended the federal Davis-Bacon Act, now will expire Nov. 8.
Grassroots activists sent more than 350,000 e-mails and letters to their representatives demanding fair wages be reinstated for the Gulf Coast, where skilled, full-time workers average less than $20,000 a year in pay.
One of Bush's first acts after Hurricane Katrina hit was suspending Davis-Bacon. Enacted in 1931, Davis-Bacon ensures high-quality work standards and community prevailing wage requirements for federally funded rebuilding projects. A few days after suspending Davis-Bacon, Bush also suspended affirmative action rules for Katrina contractors.
Oddly enough, I don't see anything there about Bush also allowing contractors to hire anyone regardless of immigration status. In fact, other than the LA Dems, no other Dems are complaining about that.
Yet, all those illegal aliens will serve to reduce wages for American hurricane victims, and will just serve as a backdoor way for major contractors to screw American workers. So, why doesn't the AFL-CIO say anything about that? Why don't those politicians who complained about this say anything? Are they afraid that MALDEF will call them "mean-spirited"? Don't worry, scared Dems. Here, I'll hold your hand as you try to reach down deep inside for that last little speck of patriotism.
It's here, but their site appears to be down currently. When it comes back, could someone ask if they intend to work to stop unions from their recent support for massive illegal immigration? Because, their campaign and petition wouldn't be necessary if there weren't people willing to undercut American workers. Thanks.