A year after Hurricane Harvey, some cleanup workers are still unpaid

Amid a recovery marred by labor abuses, activists are trying to start a dialogue about the treatment of workers in Houston

by Mike Elk at The Guardian

Alejandro Zuniga of the Fe y Justicia Worker Center offers water and literature to day laborers in Houston, where the Hurricane Harvey recovery has been marred by abuses of workers’ rights. Photograph: Daniel Kramer

One year on from Hurricane Harvey – and as the true scale of the mess left by Hurricane Florence emerges in the Carolinas – the cleanup work in Houston still continues. And workers still digging out from the mess are fearful that they may not get paid.

“As a community, we have stepped up. We have restored people’s homes and restored their lives,” the Houston mayor Sylvester Turner told a crowd at a barbecue marking the first anniversary of Hurricane Harvey last month. Across town at the historically black Texas Southern University, activists paint a less rosy picture of recovery.

At a meeting convened under the title “The People’s Tribunal on Hurricane Harvey,” Claudia, a middle-aged undocumented immigrant from Colombia struggling to pay her children’s college tuitions back home, told the crowd of working for a contractor on a hurricane cleanup project for a week, only to find that the contractor had disappeared when it came time to get paid.

Read full article at: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/sep/19/hurricane-harvey-workers-rights-texas

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