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New study: Rampant housing violations at migrant worker camps

Despite decades of media attention and lawsuits, North Carolina agricultural interests continue to frequently subject migrant workers to the kind of treatment one would associate with barnyard animals. A new Wake Forest University study offers the latest outrageous news on this subject. Here’s a news release sent out by the Justice Center this morning:

Wake Forest University Study Finds Violations Rampant in Migrant Housing

Study reveals multiple housing law violations at every camp inspected; advocates urging NCDOL to increase inspections of farm worker housing

RALEIGH (March 30, 2012) – A newly released study from the Center for Worker Health at Wake Forest University School of Medicine found that migrant housing in North Carolina is plagued with violations. Researchers uncovered at least four violations of housing law in each of the 183 camps they inspected for the study.

The study, printed in the March edition of the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, is the largest and most comprehensive study of farm worker housing ever conducted in the Southeastern United States. Researchers documented many serious violations of the North Carolina Migrant Housing Act, including:

-Infestations of roaches, mice and rats;
-Non-working toilets and showers;
-Contaminated drinking water;
-Lack of fire safety equipment and smoke alarms.

The North Carolina Department of Labor is responsible for enforcing migrant housing law. Wake Forest University researchers used NCDOL migrant housing standards to evaluate the homes and labor camps they visited.

Farmworker advocates will meet with NCDOL Commissioner Cherie Berry next week to discuss the findings of the study.

For questions regarding the Wake Forest University study, contact Dr. Thomas A. Arcury, PhD at (336) 716-9438, or tarcury@wakehealth.edu.

 For More Information, Contact:  Clermont Fraser, NC Justice Center, (919) 861-0606 (office), clermont@ncjustice.org; Ana Duncan Pardo, Toxic Free North Carolina, (919) 818-5933, ana@toxicfreenc.org; Jeff Shaw, Director of Communications, NC Justice Center, (503) 551-3615, jeff@ncjustice.org.

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