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The State of Low Wage Work in North Carolina
March 3, 2015, 12:00 to 1:30 p.m.
Pleasants Family Assembly Room, Wilson Library, UNC-CH

Much of the job growth since the end of the recession has been in low wage work. The growth of low wage work predates the recession, however, and signifies large and long-term changes for the state's economy as well as prospects for its residents.

This event explored low wage work and its consequences for the state. Panelists were:

  • Carol Brooke, NC Justice Center
  • Patrick Conway, UNC-CH Economics
  • Arne Kalleberg, UNC-CH Sociology
  • T. William Lester, UNC-CH City and Regional Planning
  • Raquel Lynch, Crisis Assistance Ministries in Charlotte

This event is free and open to the public. Questions? Contact the Center at 919.445.0182 or

More detailed information on low wage work is available at our low wage website.

Panelist bios

Carol Brooke, Staff Attorney, Workers Rights Project, NC Justice Center

Carol has quickly developed into one of the state’s leading advocates on behalf of migrant workers – particularly farmworkers. She has handled numerous important cases on behalf of groups and individuals and has successfully represented migrants victimized by unlawful employment practices, unsafe housing, sexual harassment and numerous other abuses and indignities. When not litigating cases, Brooke has conducted countless training sessions and provided untold hours of support to advocacy organizations working with farmworkers. Before attending and graduating from law school at UNC-Chapel Hill, Carol worked as a public health educator with a non-profit organization that provided education and advocacy for low-income poultry processing workers in North Carolina.

Patrick Conway, Professor and Department Chair, Economics, UNC-CH

Patrick has been on the UNC faculty since 1983 teaching courses in introductory economics, international economics, development economics and macroeconomics both to undergraduates and to graduate students. His current research interests include the impact of IMF lending programs on developing-country welfare, the development of financial markets in transition economies, the welfare impact of exchange-rate depreciation in developing countries, and the impact on US workers of US textiles and apparel imports.

Arne Kalleberg, Kenan Distinguished Professor of Sociology, UNC-CH

Arne received his B.A. from Brooklyn College and his M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He was previously a Professor of Sociology at Indiana University in Bloomington. He served as the Secretary of the American Sociological Association in 2001-4 and as its President in 2007-8. He is currently the editor of Social Forces, an International Journal of Social Research.

T. William Lester, Assistant Professor, City and Regional Planning, UNC-CH

Bill's research focuses on the role of labor market institutions in fostering greater equity at the urban and metropolitan scales. His is an expert on the impact of minimum wage and living wage policies on urban economic development. While his research on the minimum wage and living wage has garnered national attention recently--including a mention in the State of the Union address--he continues to broaden his research agenda within the field of economic development.

He recently completed a collaborative project that examines the links between economic development and land use. He is also undertaking a variety of research projects aimed at evaluating the effectiveness of economic development incentive programs. Specifically, he completed a paper published in Urban Studies focused on the effectiveness and economic impact of Tax Increment Financing (TIF) in Chicago. Some recent articles in Chicago Magazine feature his work and highlight several policy reforms. He also published an evaluation of the use of economic development incentives in North Carolina, which will appear in Economic Development Quarterly.

Raquel Lynch, Chief Program Officer, Crisis Assistance Ministry, Charlotte

Raquel is responsible for managing all assistance programs at Crisis Assistance Ministry. She also provides vision and leadership in the development of a comprehensive Community Advocacy Program to lead this community to understand and address poverty. Before joining Crisis Assistance Ministry’s Leadership Team, her work focused on programs and infrastructure development at two of Charlotte’s leading immigrant rights organization, the Latin American Coalition and the International House respectively.

A native of Venezuela, she holds a BA in Communications from Hofstra University, she recently completed the NYU’s Wagner IGNITE Fellowship and the Wake Forest University’s Business Essentials for Nonprofit Organizations program. Raquel also is a graduate of the American Leadership Forum, Leadership Development Initiative. She has served in a variety of boards and committees to contribute her expertise, she currently serves on the board of Legal Services of Southern Piedmont and is a member of the NC Assets Alliance Steering Committee.

Google map of Wilson Library.

A Generation of Change documentary

Generation of Change logo

"A Generation of Change: Bill Friday, Terry Sanford, and North Carolina from the 1920s-1972" aired on WUNC-TV on January 8.

This insightful documentary focuses on some of North Carolina's most notable post-war leaders (who all happened to be in the same study group at Carolina Law). The film looks at some of their formative experiences, the challenges of the time and how this public-minded group left their stamp on the state.

Listen to WUNC's Frank Stasio interview the producers of the film on The State of Things.

N&O article by Rob Christensen on the film, Bill Friday and Terry Sanford.

Special Trial Courts for State Constitutional Claims

September 29, 2014, 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.
UNC School of Law

The Poverty Center hosted a conversation with prominent constitutional scholar and UNC Law professor, Michael Gerhardt. Gerhardt, the Samuel Ashe Distinguished Professor in Constitutional Law, discussed the recent state law that removes civil cases with a constitutional claim from local superior courts to a special three judge court located in Wake County. The judges serving on this panel are selected by the Chief Justice of the NC Supreme Court. No other state has created this type of court and while proponents tout its efficiency and fairness, critics raise their own questions of fairness, political subterfuge, and separation of powers. Gerhardt discussed the ramifications and motivations for the law with a large classroom of UNC law students.

UNC School of Law | Van Hecke-Wettach Hall | 160 Ridge Road, CB #3380 | Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3380 | 919.962.5106 | Accessibility

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