Sima Atri

  • Hosted by New Orleans Workers' Center for Racial Justice
  • Sponsored by Norflet Progress Fund
  • Service location New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Law school Harvard Law School
  • Issue area Workers' Rights
  • Fellowship class year 2015
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Sima will improve working conditions in New Orleans’ construction industry by collectively empowering Black and immigrant workers through litigation of employment abuse and anti-retaliation complaints and policy advocacy.

New Orleans is the second-worst city in the U.S. for income inequality with 29% of the population living in poverty. The inequality is deeply racial in nature – 52% of Black men in New Orleans are out of work, and Black median earnings dropped 11% over the last decade. The local economy has low working standards and hires few Black workers, while employment wage, health, and safety violations are rampant. The vulnerability of Black workers, like immigrant workers, results in a fear of enforcing their established rights. However, New Orleans is at a crossroads. The construction industry is growing and there is political support behind programs creating employment opportunities for the local population. Through litigation and support for cross-racial collective action, this project ensures that there will be dignified, sustainable, safe jobs and that all workers will feel empowered to enforce their rights.

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