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? A Shameful Proclamation

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Published: September 10, 2005

On Thursday, President Bush issued a proclamation suspending the law that requires employers to pay the locally prevailing wage to construction workers on federally financed projects. The suspension applies to parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.

By any standard of human decency, condemning many already poor and now bereft people to subpar wages - thus perpetuating their poverty - is unacceptable. It is also bad for the economy. Without the law, called the Davis-Bacon Act, contractors will be able to pay less, but they'll also get less, as lower wages invariably mean lower productivity.

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Major Quake Would Alter The Face Of San Francisco
SAN FRANCISCO -- Rebuilding San Francisco after a major earthquake would change its human face, hastening gentrification and driving out poor and elderly residents, experts and city officials warn.

Experts say there's a 62 percent chance a quake with a magnitude of 6.7 or higher will hit the San Francisco Bay area within several decades -- or tomorrow. Thousands of homes would be rendered uninhabitable, displacing up to 300,000 residents, almost half the city's population, according to some projections.

Since Hurricane Katrina left thousands homeless along the Gulf Coast, there's been renewed interest in how San Francisco would fare in a massive earthquake.
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? MAKING ENDS MEET-The Well-off are bBetter off, but the Ranks of the Poor are Growing, and Middle- and Low-Income Workers Feel Pressure of High Prices

he gap between high-income and low-income Americans is widening, the ranks of the poor in California and nationwide are swelling, and middle-class workers have lost ground compared with the 1970s, several national and state studies show.

A disturbing new picture of low- and middle-income family finances is emerging from U.S. Census studies and from analyses of census and other data by the California Budget Project, the Brookings Institution, UC Berkeley researchers and organizations studying specific demographic or geographic groups.
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Union Organizers at Poultry Plants in South Find Newly Sympathetic Ears

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MORRISTOWN, Tenn. - Hour after hour, Antonia Lopez Paz said, her supervisor at the Koch Foods poultry plant here told women on the deboning line that production demands were so great that they could not go to the bathroom.

Delores Smith, who makes $8.40 an hour, broke her glasses on the job. She said her employer, Gold Kist, offered $38 toward buying new ones.

Sometimes she developed acute pain because she could not go, Ms. Lopez said. And one time when another woman asked for permission, "the supervisor took off his hard hat and told her, 'You can go to the bathroom in this,' " said Ms. Lopez, a Mexican immigrant who moved to this town in East Tennessee three years ago, lured by the company's promise of year-
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