Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Urgent: Congolese Flex-N-Gate Workers Need C-U Community's Voice

Urgent Situation: 

Workers at Flex-N-Gate’s Guardian West Plant in Urbana have been working together to form a union for many months now. They are paid wages that keep them hovering at the poverty line, and often work in dangerous conditions.

A group of workers at the plant who have stood up for change at their workplace are facing another crisis. 

Last weekend, Congolese families living at the Continental Plaza and Stoneleigh Court apartment complexes simultaneously received letters from their landlord Royse & Brinkmeyer Apartments stating the company will not renew their leases.

The letter went onto say that the landlord has had less than satisfactory experiences with these tenants. To our knowledge, every single Congolese resident in these buildings will lose their lease.

No one else in the complex appears to have received a similar letter. Altogether, 11 households will be affected when their leases expire in the coming months. Seven of these apartments are occupied by workers at Flex-N-Gate, including several who have spoken out publicly about the dangerous conditions in the plant, which uses toxic chromium to manufacture truck bumpers.

We are asking members of the Champaign-Urbana community to take action to
support these families.

The residents who received these letters were not behind on their rent. They hadn’t received warnings for noise, for not maintaining their apartments properly, or for anything else. They work hard, and go to school to improve their English and advance their education.

Royse & Brinkmeyer’s actions will make it harder for these members of our community to find affordable housing. Their actions amount to discrimination against a group of people who are trying their best to build a brighter future for themselves and their families.

Residents are in the process of filing fair housing complaints with the appropriate agencies, but they need your help, too. Please take a minuteto send an e-mail to Royse & Brinkmeyer demanding that they do the right thing, and copy members of the Champaign Human Relations Commission.

It’s quick and easy:

Just go to the Justice at Flex N Gate Website  [http://afl.salsalabs.com/o/5892/c/1363/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=3695]

Please forward to others you think may want to get involved.