Join us on Thursday, October 18th at 12:00 in D.C. for the next discussion in our series titled, “Reinventing Low-Wage Work.” The conversation, moderated by Yuki Noguchi of NPR, will cover the challenges of work in the residential construction market and ideas that can be used to improve job quality in the sector.
Date: October 18th, 2012
Time: 12:00-1:30 EST
Location: The Aspen Institute in Washington D.C. (Register Now)
The Housing Market’s Foundation: A Discussion on the Workforce in Residential Construction
This is the fourth conversation in a roundtable series in 2012 titled “Reinventing Low Wage Work: Ideas That Can Work for Employees, Employers and the Economy.” Low-wage jobs are a growing part of the U.S. economy, and AspenWSI is excited to continue this conversation about the nature of low-wage work, the challenges it presents to workers, businesses and the economy, and the opportunities we have for addressing these challenges at the Aspen Institute at a time when jobs and the economy are such critical topics for our country. Join us for this important conversation on the workforce who builds and maintains our homes, moderated by Yuki Noguchi of NPR.
Featured speakers include:
Mike Holland Division President, Marek Brothers Systems, Inc.
Christine Owens Executive Director, National Employment Law Project
Emily Timm Policy Analyst, Workers Defense Project
Nik Theodore Associate Professor in the Department of Urban Planning and Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago
About the Speakers and Moderator
Mike Holland, Division President, Marek Brothers Systems, Inc. Mike Holland is the Division President of Marek Brothers Systems, Inc., a 74 year old construction specialty contractor in Texas and Georgia. Marek Brothers, which employs nearly 1,000 workers, specializes in interior drywalls and insulation projects in the residential and commercial construction sectors. The American Subcontractors Association awarded Marek Brothers the Excellence in Ethics award, a very distinctive national award that ASA gives to subcontractors from around the country for instilling high standards of integrity within their firm. Marek Brothers Systems was one of only seven companies throughout the country to receive an Excellence in Ethics Award in 2012. Mike is a 41 year veteran of the construction industry and has been with Marek Brothers for his entire career in construction. Mike is a national board member for the American Subcontractors Association, a board member for the Associated Builders and Contractors, an executive committee member of the Construction Career Collaborative, and a member of the Texas A&M University Construction Industry Advisory Council. He has also served as president of Houston chapter of the American Subcontractors Association, been a member of the Associated General Contractors of Houston board of directors, and is a graduate of the Associated General Contractors’ Leadership Forum. Mike also served on the board of Greater Houston YMCA and Foster Family YMCA.
Yuki Noguchi, Correspondent, National Desk, National Public Radio (NPR) Yuki Noguchi joined NPR News in May 2008 as a correspondent. She is a general assignment reporter covering business for NPR’s National Desk. She began reporting for NPR in Washington with the 2008 presidential race underway and as the economy started to experience severe turmoil. Her stories have ranged from declines in SUV sales at Carmax to profiles of important figures involved in the Wall Street bailout. Noguchi’s pieces can be heard on Morning Edition, All Things Considered and Weekend Edition Sunday. Before joining NPR, Noguchi worked at The Washington Post, first as a reporter and later as an editor. Starting in 1999, she covered economic development. Starting in 2000, she covered telecommunications and wrote stories about the major industry mergers, the Federal Communications Commission and the rise of some of the Internet giants. On the side, she also wrote about her love of swing dancing. Later, she covered consumer technology, writing features about people and their relationships with their gadgets. This was her favorite beat. Most recently, Noguchi directed the paper’s coverage of national technology news. Prior to joining the Post, Noguchi reported on business and politics for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle and The Orlando Sentinel. She received her B.A. in history from Yale University. During a year off, she studied in Yokohama, Japan, and worked for Kyodo News Service in Tokyo. She is fluent in Japanese and speaks conversational German.
Christine Owens, Executive Director, National Employment Law Project Christine Owens joined NELP as its Executive Director in January 2008. Over her long career as a workers’ rights advocate, she has held a variety of public interest and public sector positions advancing employment rights and opportunities for women, people of color and low wage workers. In 1997, she joined the national AFL-CIO as a senior policy analyst specializing in workplace equity issues, and in 2001, was appointed Director of Public Policy. At the AFL-CIO, she worked closely with NELP and numerous national and grassroots economic policy and worker advocacy groups, along with national unions and state labor federations, to promote reforms such as minimum wage and living wage hikes, pay equity for working women, and state UI coverage expansions. Before joining the AFL-CIO, she founded and ran the Workers Options Resource Center, which coordinated the efforts of a broad-based coalition of national and community organizations to win the 1996 federal minimum wage increase. Christine holds a degree in law from the University of Virginia and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the College of William and Mary.
Nik Theodore, Associate Professor in the Department of Urban Planning and Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago Nik Theodore is Associate Professor in the Department of Urban Planning and Policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and former director of the Center for Urban Economic Development (2000-12). Prior to joining UIC, he was a researcher with the Chicago Urban League (1988-97), and an Atlantic Fellow in Public Policy at Manchester University (UK). His work focuses on the restructuring of urban labor markets, the decline of labor standards in low wage industries, and the role of intermediaries in reshaping labor-market pathways. He is an author of studies documenting conditions in day labor markets, assessing workplace violations in low-wage industries, and examining the role of the temporary staffing industry in the U.S. economy, as well as a forthcoming study on the domestic work industry. Professor Theodore’s work has been covered by the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Time, and other print and electronic news outlets.
Emily Timm, Policy Analyst, Workers Defense Project Emily Timm has worked with low-income workers in Maryland, Rhode Island and Texas for over 10 years as an organizer and advocate. She has worked with Workers Defense Project since 2004 and is a co-author of Building Austin, Building Injustice: Working Conditions in Austin’s Construction Industry, which uncovered widespread safety and wage violations on construction work sites in Austin. She has also authored studies documenting the social costs of construction injuries and the disproportionate burden they place on hospitals and working families. She is co-authoring a forthcoming report on working conditions in five Texas cities, the largest study of its kind to date on previously unstudied construction markets. Emily currently oversees WDP’s Community Organizing for Change program and is working with WDP’s Construction Worker Committee on the Build a Better Texas Campaign to win safe and dignified working conditions for construction workers in Texas. Emily is committed to social and economic justice for all and believes that real change is only possible when it is led by those who have experienced oppression first-hand. Emily holds a B.A. in International Development Studies from Brown University.