We want to bring to your attention a resolution passed by the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church at its recent fall meeting. Their resolution asks that President Bush reverse his decision to suspend indefinitely for the Gulf Region the federal wage guidelines of the Davis-Bacon Act. In light of the bishopsâ action, we are asking that you support H.R. 3763 which would accomplish that same goal.
The bishops recognized that the harsh winds of Katrina and Rita exposed fundamental injustices and blew away any pretense that the inequities of race and class have been overcome in our nation. Ever mindful of our Episcopal baptismal covenant "to strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being," the bishopsâ resolution states:
Whereas, many of the victims of the hurricanes are twice victimized, first they already experience lower wages, and then lose homes and jobs. Paying less than prevailing wages denies those most in need of the greater opportunities the work in construction and rebuilding can provide.
Resolved, The House of Bishops in interim session expresses its opposition to the suspension of the provisions of the Federal Guidelines of the Davis-Bacon Act which call for the paying of prevailing wages in federal contracts for relief and rebuilding areas affected by hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
As a church we have supported raising the minimum wage and adoption of a living wage â both actions that would be steps toward resolving some of the economic and other social injustices that were seen in the painful images of Hurricane Katrina. We urge you to act promptly to address one of those injustices by rescinding the suspension of Davis-Bacon in the Gulf Region. And we pledge our church and ourselves to join in the long process of resurrection and recovery that lies before us.
The Rt. Rev. John L. Rabb
Bishop Suffragan of Maryland
Director of Government Relations