STAND and its members hereby file this petition for a writ of mandamus demanding the release of public documents. The Housing Authority of New Orleans’ (“HANO”) unlawful failure to provide the records is one in the latest in a series of arbitraty and unreasonable actions that harm the most vulnerable residents of this community– low-income renterrs, low-wage workers, struggling families as a means of supporting the right to return.
This petition for a writ of mandamus and other relief arises from a request for public records submitted to HANO on July 15, 2009, by STAND with Dignity, a grassroots membership organization that monitors and seeks to improve HANO’s administration of the Housing Choice Voucher Program (“HCVP”), also known as Section-8, as an integrated component of a comprehensive plan for affordable housing in New Orleans.
Class action complaint filed December 10, 2008, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana collectively alleging violations of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act (TVPA), violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), breach of contract, and battery.
Class action complaint filed March 7, 2008, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana collectively alleging violations of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act (TVPA), the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO); the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871 (42 U.S.C. §§ 1981 and 1985), the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and state laws governing fraud and breach of contract. Five workers also brought individual claims for damages arising from false imprisonment, assault, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligent infliction of emotional distress stemming from Signal’s efforts to extra-legally detain and forcibly deport them after they organized and complained about this illegal activity.
This action is brought by H-2B guestworkers recruited by Defendants from foreign countries since Hurricane Katrina to work in the Defendants’ luxury hotel operations in New Orleans. The workers traveled to the United States from their countries of Bolivia, Peru, and the Dominican Republic to perform guest services, housekeeping, maintenance, and other essential support functions in the hotel operations of the Defendants. Like thousands of other migrant laborers who have been lured to New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the workers in this case left their homes and families based on false promises of high earnings, stable jobs, and good living conditions.
The Defendants brought the workers in the is case to the U.S. pursuant to the H-2B “guestworker” program. As a part of the application for obtaining certification to bring H-2B guestworkers to the United States, the Defendants certified to the U.S. government that “qualified persons in the United States are not available” to full the jobs. See 20 C.F.R. § 655.3. The Defendants made this assertion despite the fact that local U.S. workers, mostly African Americans, had previously worked in this industry in New Orleans and were available to do so again. The Defendants’ goal in using foreign labor instead of seeking the services of U.S. workers was to drive down wages and working conditions.