June 10, 2015 under FPWA In The News

Coalition Calling on NYC Council to Invest in Day Laborers

From the Associated Press

Hispanic laborers and activists in New York have formally asked the city to invest public funds in helping immigrants, mostly without authorization, seeking work in the corners and represent cheap labor, so often suffer abuse.

After the arrival of a new mayor and councilors that emit a more progressive than the previous municipal administration message, the activists hope to receive $ 365,000 to improve the living conditions of the laborers of Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island.

It is known as an immigrant laborer without steady employment who often wait in corners of large metropolitan areas to be picked up by contractors who need labor that day.

“We want to support this struggle to be more benefits for laborers because we are in the streets,” said Servando Rodriguez, a Mexican 48 years since the last 22 working as a laborer in the United States. “If we had a local would be much better.”

Members of groups that help laborers in New York testified this week before the City Council to request the funds. Wednesday was spent calling councilors who make up the committee that decides the budget now under debate.

The activists claimed that the laborers play a crucial role in times of crisis and after the attacks of September 11, 2001 or after Hurricane Sandy hit New York in 2012 and, yet, have no labor protections and are victims of wage theft.

It is estimated that between 8,000 and 10,000 laborers living in New York and using a 34 corners to achieve work every day, group members Staten Island Community Job Center, Workers Justice Project and New Immigrant Community Empowerment, which requested the funds said.

The groups would use that money to hire coordinators who help laborers in corners of Queens and Staten Island, and build a center of four walls for them in Brooklyn, among other things.

“It is time to put pressure on the city and make a significant investment,” said Gonzalo Mercado, director of the Staten Island Community Job Center.

Spokesmen for councilors of the Finance Committee did not respond immediately sent a request for comment by The Associated Press.

The $ 365,000 is for this fiscal year and expect the figure to increase in the future. The three groups have joined the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies to ask for funds.

The activists also said laborers, alongside students from Cornell University, will engage counting corners where immigrants work in the city to update the census laborers who remain.

Cities such as Los Angeles or Seattle and invest public money now to help immigrants seeking work in corners.


Claudia Torrens is on Twitter as http://www.twitter.com/ClaudiaTorrens

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