Could 3D printing be the answer to the housing shortage? – National & International News – TUE 26Oct2021


Could 3D printing be the answer to the housing shortage? Striketober: Grassroots union drive takes on Amazon. Brazil’s president may face criminal charges for COVID handling.



Could 3D printing be the answer to the housing shortage?

3D-printed homes and other structures have been around for a few years. But while previous projects have experimented with single structures, homebuilding firm Lennar Corp. plans to use the technology to build a brand new 100-home neighborhood near Austin, TX. 

While most modern homes are framed in wood, 3D printing technology builds structures layer-by-layer with cement. Lennar is using 15.5 foot tall printers that squeeze cement out like toothpaste. The mechanisms can build the exterior and interior walls for a one-story, 2000 sq. ft. homes in about a week. Then, the roof and other super structures will be finished using conventional wood-framing methods.

Although 3D printed homes may in some cases be sold for lower prices than comparable traditional homes in the area, homebuyers shouldn’t expect a huge price difference just yet. Lennar and other firms are still experimenting with the technology and hope to eventually scale-up and speed up the process. But in the long term, 3D printing could provide an answer to building supply shortages and the shrinking pool of qualified laborers.

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Striketober: Grassroots union drive takes on Amazon

Earlier this year, Staten Island Amazon warehouse worker Chris Smalls led an employee walkout over Amazon’s lack of workplace COVID precautions. The retail behemoth fired Smalls the same day. Now Smalls is leading a long-shot effort he hopes will succeed where others have failed: unionizing an Amazon workplace.

Several months ago, an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, AL, held a union vote. That effort was led by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDS), a nationwide organization with considerable resources. But ultimately, RWDS proved to be no match for Amazon’s aggressive unionbusting tactics. Even larger outfits like the AFL-CIO have failed to gain any traction with Amazon’s immense labor force.

David meets Goliath

Smalls is taking a a very different approach. He’s teaming with current Amazon employees to form an entirely grassroots, in-house organization called the Amazon Labor Union (ALU). 

The group has already collected 2000 signatures from a facility where about 7000 people work. They delivered the signature cards to a local labor office yesterday, which is a first step in calling for a union vote.

The ALU will have to face the same aggressive union busting tactics that Amazon has used to defeat drives by much bigger labor organizations. But, there’s some chance the grassroots approach may prove advantageous. Since the drive is organized by the employees themselves, it will be difficult for Amazon to cast the ALU as interlopers who are only interested duping workers out of union dues.

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Brazil’s President could face criminal charges for COVID response

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro has been courting controversy ever since he took office. The ultra-right-wing politician has openly patterned his politics and campaigning style after Donald Trump.

Since the start of the pandemic, Bolsonaro has adopted a stance of denial about the dangers of COVID-19. He refused to approve any policies that could have helped to limit the spread of the virus in the country. As a result, Brazil has had over 600,000 confirmed COVID fatalities, second only to the U.S.

Now a months-long investigation has produced a 1200-page report on Bolsonaro’s conduct as president. The report recommends at least 9 criminal charges for Bolsonaro, including crimes against humanity, misuse of public funds and inciting crime. Members of Brazil’s Senate will vote on whether to approve the report. It will then be up to the prosecutor-general, a Bolsonaro appointee, to decide whether to bring charges against the president.

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