Shine Global Documentaries reports on the troubling state of child labor in the United States, and how the wealthiest nation on earth turns a blind eye towards the plight of children working in its agricultural fields:
Over the past decade, budget cuts and looser regulations have hampered the ability of state governments to enforce labor law, harming the livelihoods of many American workers at the low end of the economic scale. Spencer Woodman of In These Times has an in-depth report:
Wage theft is a modern American epidemic affecting workers regardless of documentation.
Collins Crossing Apartment Homes' shabby stairs to be updated
By Jenny Surane | The Daily Tar Heel
Updated: 01/08/13 8:33pm
Since a boy fell through stairs at Collins Crossing in Nov, the town mandated the complex to renovate stairs in 24 of the buildings.
The owners of Collins Crossing Apartment Homes will be required to complete renovations on stairwells in 24 of the complex’s 25 buildings after an investigation revealed hazardous and disintegrating stairwells.
The Carrboro code enforcement office issued the mandate Tuesday, more than a month after a 10-year-old boy fell through a stairwell at Collins Crossing and was hospitalized.
Carrboro code enforcement supervisor Mike Canova said he performed the initial inspection on Dec. 3 before sending a notice to the owner’s of the complex notifying them about the condition of the stairways.
The owners, which include individual unit owners and Alcurt Carrboro, LLC — the primary owner of the complex — are required to complete all renovations by March 4.
Jarrod Stelly, who is in charge of the renovations at the complex, said he sees no reason why the repairs won’t be completed in time.
“It’s definitely in disrepair and it’s been like that for years and we’re here to fix it,” Stelly said.
He said his company has already begun to take steps toward fixing the stairs.
“After the incident, we became more proactive,” he said. “We did temporary shoring up of all staircases with wood.”
Canova said his department will make weekly inspections to monitor the progress of the repairs to ensure they are done in a timely manner.
Bob Hornik, attorney for the town of Carrboro, said if the owners fail to meet the deadline, the town plans to pursue legal action.
Paying for it all
On Dec. 19, the Old Well Owners Association — the homeowners association for the complex — approved a special assessment fee of $5,406 per unit.
The plan for the fee was drafted by Jeffrey Strole, the vice president of Aspen Square Management, which manages the property.
The association did not specify what the fee will be used for, but owners believe the money might go toward the renovations.
UNC sociology professor Judith Blau owns two units in Collins Crossing, and she said she worries that the fee might transfer into higher rents for many of the complex’s low income renters.
“Collin’s Crossing is home to many low-income families, and if rents are raised, they’re going to be moving,” Blau said.
Blau said many of the unit owners felt that the new fee was unfair.
“Some of us felt that if they bought the property they should have made the investments for improving the property,” she said.
Carrboro Mayor Mark Chilton said he is happy the homeowners are taking steps to repair the stairwells, but he wants them to create a payment plan for owners to pay the fee over a couple of years.
He said he does not want condominium owners to expect low-income residents to shoulder the fee.
Chilton added that he wants to protect residents in the complex from being forced out by the fee.
“If they’re going to play hardball then so am I,” Chilton said.
Contact the city editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Published January 8, 2013 in City
full link here
Our friends at Orange Networking are raising money to buy laptops for 15 Abbey Court youth!
This is an amazing and major effort to bridge the digital divide and help young students from low-income households develop academically on par with their peers in Carrboro and Chapel Hill.
You can contribute here!
And read more about the effort here.
Many thanks to Orange Networking and the many others working to expand access to internet and technology in Orange County.
The journal Societies Without Borders talks with Dr. Blau about her work with Societies Without Borders and about the HRC!
Read it here:
In a conversation with Keri E. Iyall Smith, Judith R. Blau shares her thoughts on the
early days of Sociologists Without Borders/Sociólogos Sin Fronteras (SSF). She
explains the impetus for the organization and some of its early victories. She then
describes her work today with the Human Rights Center (HRC), where members of
Carrboro and Chapel Hill are working together to live the dream of human rights.
by Kayce Resha
This semester I have been working on updating the HRC website, mostly putting up pictures and posting some blogs and press articles. This has provided me with a great opportunity to get to know all about the Human Rights Center and the programs and events, such as the afterschool program, the children's health fair, and the Plutopia concert, which has given me a chance to see how these programs are benefitting the community in a big way. I have realized how the combination of many small efforts can combine to make such a big difference in people's lives. I encourage anyone who has not had a chance to check out the additions to the website to visit the Photos and Blog pages. I also want to highlight the Resources page, which includes links and contact information for organzations that provide legal, community, and health related resources.
Makena Parker, a student in Judith Balu's SOCI 273 class at UNC tells us about her experience in the Restaurant Project, her service-learning component for the course:
I work at a restaurant that employs illegal workers. While working with the restaurant project and seeing the amount of restaurants that also employ illegal workers, I did some observations at my restaurant. Although these workers are illegal and get paid under the table, they work very hard as anyone else would. My supervisor pays them well and treats them as equals. He makes sure they are healthy, fed, and that their families are doing well because without this job, they are poor. They still maintain their human rights even though they do not have their citizenship. They are treated equally and have the basic needs of life including food and shelter. It's nice to see that there are people out there who realize that beyond everything else, people are people and deserve to be treated as such.
- Makena Parker
Join ALIANZA, SAF and FLOC on December 9, 12:30pm, at the Kangaroo Store on the corner of Estes Dr. and E. Franklin St. This will be part of a series of state-wide actions that weekend, including events in Greensboro and Raleigh.
We will be raising our voices to Kangaroo to let them know that they MUST tell Reynolds Tobacco - based in Winston Salem- to either end the abuses of human rights in their tobacco fields and work camps or they will cut their ties with the corporation.
By Brooke Herda
I volunteered the other week at the Internationalist Prison Books Collective. The Prison Books Collective gets together every Sunday to package and send books to prisoners throughout the nation. Prisoners will write them letters
saying what kind of books they would like to read and then the volunteers do their best to send them what they think the prisoners would enjoy. It is a really cool initiative in how it promotes reading to prisoners and sends books for free. The building where it happens has a whole wall filled with donated books and zines and the people who run it are very passionate about the cause. Overall, it was a neat experience and it opened my eyes to a whole new sets of humans rights issues - those dealing with prisoners.
I also volunteered at Farmer Food share the other Saturday and it was an incredibly enjoyable experience. It takes place at the Saturday morning Carrboro Farmers Market. There is a table at the front of the market where people can donate money and farmers can donate food. We used the money that was donated to go around to different farmers and buy food. Then, at the end of the market we went around with boxes and a lot of the farmers would donate the food that wouldn't last until the next market or that they didn't need. We were able to collect over 300 pounds worth of food! The food is then taken to the HRC and given out to families there so that they get the opportunity to have fresh and locally grown food. I think Farmer Food Share is an interesting concept and I really liked helping out with it.
NPR just announced that Tuesday is Charity Day. Contributions to the HRC for the rest of the week will be matched by an anonymous donor.