Building Bridges: Your Community & Labor Report
National Edition
Produced by Mimi Rosenberg & Ken Nash
Massive Giveaways of Contracts to Bush Cronies in Wake of
Hurricane Katrina While Bush Suspends Prevailing Wage
with David Donnelly, National Campaigns Director for the
Public Campaign Action Fund and
Jared Bernstein, Director, Living Standards Program,
Economic Policy Institute

Halliburton Corporation - - VP Dick Cheney's former company - -
received a $30 million contract to clean up after Hurricane
Katrina. Lobbyists are lining up to grab profits for their clients without
having to competitively bid for Katrina reconstruction work. Some
contracts will be worth hundreds of millions of dollars, maybe even
billions. Companies like Halliburton shouldn't be able to cash in on
their political connections to steal a profit from disaster.
And, what of the those who suffered the especially harsh devastation
the storm wrought and who now face the Herculean task of rebuilding
their lives. One major contributor to these families' hardships, wherever
they make their home, has been the failure of Congress and the Bush
administration to make sure that the minimum wage keeps up with the
rising cost of living. The federal minimum wage, which has stayed at
$5.15 since it was last raised in 1996-1997, has less purchasing power
now than it did in 49 of the last 50 years. Worst yet, what about forcing
construction and service workers in the Gulf Coast States rebuilding
process to work at below the federal prevailing wage rate?

Be Careful The Thorns On Those Flowers Drip Blood!
with Eduardo Parrado Escobar, Executive Board Member of

The Dole corporation is the largest producer of fresh cut flowers in
Latin America and the largest importer and marketer of flowers in North
America. While Dole executives are attending a benefit dinner at Tavern
on the Green, put on by the Social Accountability International, an
organization that purports to promote social accountability standards
that include respect for trade union rights Dole is actively busting the
independent worker union Sintrasplendor in Colombia. Workers reported
about the poor working conditions that they are facing, including forced
overtime, often without compensation, miscarriages that are suspected to
be linked to strenuous work during pregnancy, workers not being able to
leave even when family members were on their death beds.
On 7/14/05 a bus carrying workers to the Splendor plantation collided
with a large truck. Three workers were killed and 50 workers were injured..
By Colombian law, these plantations are required to provide safe
transportation to and from work for workers. Dole's continued refusal to
recognize and negotiate with the union has meant a continuation of the
poor working conditions, including the unsafe transportation to and
from the work place, which has now cost several workers their lives.
Columbia has become the most dangerous place in the world for trade
union leaders. Sadly we now report that Luciano Enrique Molina,
President of SINALTRAINAL was assassinated. Luciano was found tied
with about 40 stab wounds and signs of torture. He 45 years old and is
survived by 4 children and his partner. He worked in the Ciclac-Nestle
factory in the city of Valledupar where he was fired due to an
allegation that he engaged in an illegal strike which was really a
protest meeting.
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Building Bridges is regularly broadcast over WBAI, 99.5 FM in the
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