Brewer’s 1070 Countersuit is Counterproductive for Arizona

Phoenix, AZ. In response to the Governor of Arizona pressing her countersuit to defend SB 1070, Pablo Alvarado, Director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, a litigant in the injunction suit against SB 1070 issued the following statement:
“Like Governor Wallace before her, Governor Brewer is choosing to stand on the wrong side of history with her defense of unconstitutional, regressive, and immoral legislation.
Brewer will lose in court and in the court of public opinion. Any short term political gain by scapegoating Americans in waiting will be offset in droves by future generations in Arizona who will have been inspired to wipe away the stain on the state caused by her repugnant, unconstitutional, and anti-American nativist crusade.
Yet, like a driver who refuses to admit they’re lost, the Governor refuses to turn around.
Governor Brewer’s inability to govern and failure to provide real solutions to the state’s problems will no longer be shielded by the diversion created by her spectacle of scapegoating.”
The Governor’s countersuit today precedes another event in court. Tomorrow, on the anniversary of the implementation of SB 1070, local leader Salvador Reza of the Puente Movement as well as Peter Morales, President of the Unitarian Universalist Association, will face trial for their act of conscience that prevented Sheriff Arpaio’s raids on last July 29th….

Wilmington Health Summit: Day laborers suffer poor health, work conditions

By Melissa Evans, Staff Writer | Posted: 07/26/2011 06:11:34 PM PDT | Source: DailyBreeze.com

They may have come to America for a better life, but many of the migrant day laborers in the Wilmington area suffer poor health and work conditions, a study presented Tuesday found.

Among the workers surveyed for the 2011 Wilmington Health Summit, 85 percent said they lack health insurance and a disproportionate number suffer chronic conditions such as high blood pressure and asthma.

Students and researchers who worked on the health study urged the public to get involved and help inform day laborers of available services.

“The findings clearly show (day laborers) don’t come here to utilize health services,” said Lisa Hean, a medical student involved in the research. “Many struggle to find work, and suffer all kinds of abuse and harassment.”

Roughly two dozen high school and college students, along with medical students and researchers from County Harbor-UCLA Medical Center near Torrance, conducted interviews and offered health services for more than 300 day laborers and low-income residents this summer.

The effort is part of an annual fellowship coordinated by the Department of Family Medicine at Harbor-UCLA and Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute.

One of the goals is to get medical students interested in serving disadvantaged places such as Wilmington, where there is roughly one for every 7,000 residents. The region, part of Los Angeles, is also bounded by five oil refineries and the twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

The bulk of residents are Spanish-speaking, and a majority have no health insurance or regular , according to the student research.

The fellowship began in 1991 after s noticed that many patients without insurance being treated in the emergency room came from the ZIP code that covers Wilmington, said John Feng, a medical student involved in the study.

“We want to encourage the community to think about their health and be equipped to take care of themselves,” he said.

Day laborers are a particularly vulnerable population, researchers said.

Among those who came to a health fair at a day laborer site in Wilmington, more than a quarter suffered from asthma and 70 percent were considered either overweight or obese.

In subsequent interviews, all of the laborers said they migrated to America from Mexico in search of a better life, jobs and more opportunities.

“These reasons are something we should celebrate, not look down on,” said Chardonnay Vance, a medical student.

Many of these laborers, however, endure poor and dangerous working conditions and earn meager wages, from $276 to $1,162 a month.

The students touted federal legislation known as the Dream Act, which would provide citizenship to some youth who are here illegally, and state legislation that would provide universal health care.

They also encouraged the community to help get the word out about state and federal programs that are now available, particularly for children.

“It is not paperwork or legal documents, but passion and work ethic that make you part of this country,” said Brian Levin, a student at Palos Verdes High School who participated.

melissa.evans@dailybreeze.com

League City slapped with day labor lawsuit

By Erik Barajas | Source: ABC/KTRK TV – Houston, health TX | Friday, site July 22, store 2011

A fight in League City over day labor. Workers have filed a lawsuit, claiming police are harassing them, preventing them from getting daily jobs.

Back in 2009, League City Police Chief Michael Jez began what he called a crackdown on day laborers, and now a group of day laborers is suing the police department for what they call outrageous fines and false arrests.

Isaias Leiva is waiting for work, under a carport in League City. It was four years ago he came here from Honduras looking, he says, for a better future for his family.

Leiva says League City police have not made it any easier for day laborers, and now a lawsuit hopes to stop what many day laborers call harassment by police.

Business owner Randy Wagoner, who was just dropping off a day laborer, says he’s witnessed the harassment.

“They have to make a living like everybody else. They got bills and they got family,” Wagoner said.

He says day laborers help him provide service in League City.

A lawn maintenance crew hired to mow League City easements actually hired to day laborers that were promoted to full time, but a lawsuit says harassment by officers must stop.

On behalf of day laborers, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund has filed a lawsuit against League City Police Department to stop them from targeting day workers with tickets up to a $1,000 and even imprisonment.

“In America, everyone has a right to freedom of speech whether you’re looking for day work like my clients or whether you’re seeking a contribution for your church or asking for spare change on a street corner; you’re entitled to express your self that way,” said Marisa Bono, an attorney involved in the day labor lawsuit.

Oddly enough, the lawsuit seeks what some League City business owners have been calling for — a solution.

“The city ought to make areas for them to go to or make a program for them to go to and be picked up everyday,” Wagoner said.

The laborers only brought their lawsuit after the city declined to negotiate. They have also included Governor Rick Perry over the constitutionality of a person’s right to look for work in public.

The League City Police Department is not commenting, instead they referred us to their attorney who said he has not had time to digest the lawsuit.

(Copyright ©2011 KTRK-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

LA day laborers double as actors to teach, empower

AMY TAXIN, check Associated Press | Updated 12:35 a.m., Sunday, July 24, 2011| Source: MySanAntonio.com

In this photo taken July 11, 2011, day laborer Xico Paredes, left, dressed as a Sheriff, performs during a play at the Carecen job center in Los Angeles. Cornerstone Theater Company and the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) have formed a partnership in the creation of a traveling theater troupe made up entirely of day laborers in Los Angeles. Photo: Damian Dovarganes / AP

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Most days, they are construction workers and painters and maids.

But twice a year, this group of day laborers morphs into actors in a traveling street theater troupe that performs at the very job centers where they and others gather to seek work across Southern California.

Blending at-times bawdy humor with a serious message about employer abuses, the Los Angeles-based Day Laborer Theater Without Borders has helped teach illegal immigrants with little education or knowledge of the law about their rights in this country.

Some who push for tougher border enforcement questioned whether the effort encourages illegal immigration. But advocates say the group and others like it elsewhere in the U.S. have done more to educate and empower workers than lectures or handouts ever could.

In this photo taken July 11, 2011, day laborers watch a performance at the Carecen job center in Los Angeles. Cornerstone Theater Company and the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) have formed a partnership in the creation of a traveling theater troupe made up entirely of day laborers in Los Angeles. Photo: Damian Dovarganes / AP

“When they take it to the streets, to the corners, they use the language that day laborers use because they know it,” said Pablo Alvarado, executive director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, which helps fund the theater troupe. “The minute they start doing that, people gather around just like that.”

The troupe had its start three years ago when day laborers found themselves at the heart of a heated national debate over illegal immigration. Now, the group is helping other troupes get going in San Francisco and Maryland, while a similar group already exists in New Orleans.

On a recent weekday morning, three dozen day laborers waiting for construction gigs at a hiring site in Los Angeles filed inside and grabbed seats on folding chairs to watch the troupe’s first performance of a two-week summer tour.

The first skit was called “Modern Slavery.” Two actors wearing blue uniforms hurried to the front of the hiring center, where space had been set aside for a makeshift stage. Cracking jokes rife with sexual innuendo and slang, the pair complained about the conditions at their office-cleaning job where an abusive boss tried to get his female subordinate to do more than just wash floors.

Played by another laborer, the English-barking suit-wearing boss admired the woman from behind while she scrubbed the floor — drawing laughter from the nearly all-male audience. But when he propositioned her and threatened to call immigration if she dared report him to police, the workers watching the show grew more serious.

In this photo taken July 11, 2011, day laborer Juan Romero, left, and Cornertone Theater Company Associate Artistic Director Lorena Moran perform a play at the Carecen job center in Los Angeles. Cornerstone Theater Company and the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) have formed a partnership in the creation of a traveling theater troupe made up entirely of day laborers in Los Angeles. Photo: Damian Dovarganes / AP

Actors said the story line, crafted jointly during rehearsals, drew from their own experiences — which is why workers could relate to it.

“Most of us who come here, not many have schooling,” said 62-year-old Prospero Leon, a painter from Guatemala whose face lit up during the comedic parts of the performance. “They’re interested in knowing their rights.”

The idea for the theater group dates back to a 2007 production about the experiences of day laborers entitled “Los Illegals” by the Cornerstone Theater Company, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit that helps build community theater. Several workers acted in the play written by Cornerstone’s artistic director Michael John Garces, and one of them later adapted the script for an ad-hoc performance at a conference of day laborers near Washington D.C.

That set the stage for the formation of a theater troupe by and for day laborers under the tutelage of Salvadoran immigrant worker-turned-artistic director, Juan Jose Magandi. In the 1990s, day laborers had mounted a similar traveling theater group but struggled with logistical problems and the cast disbanded.

“In our countries, the theater is from very elitist movements,” Magandi said. “We try to do theater from below — that’s why we use their vocabulary, their style and we share their experiences.”

Garces, who advises the current group and has helped bring acting and voice experts to train laborers as volunteer actors, said the tradition of street theater in Latin America and the fiery speeches and border-watching groups active in the immigration debate made theater a perfect fit for the subject.

Alvarado, of the national day laborer organization, said the feedback from audiences has been anecdotal but positive. The troupe has been funded by the organization and grants from groups such as the Ford Foundation and Open Society Foundations to the tune of roughly $80,000 a year.

One person is paid to help run the troupe and actors are given $75 a month for bus passes to get to rehearsals and a $50 stipend for days when they perform, said Lorena Moran, the group’s associate artistic director.

In this photo taken July 11, 2011, from left, day laborers Sandra Borga, Cesar Munoz and Dorian Vazquez perform a play at the Carecen job center in Los Angeles. Cornerstone Theater Company and the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) have formed a partnership in the creation of a traveling theater troupe made up entirely of day laborers in Los Angeles. Photo: Damian Dovarganes / AP

Roughly half a dozen actors will perform two different plays at 10 different job centers through July 29. The group rehearses twice a week for three or four months leading up to each tour.

Some advocates for tougher immigration enforcement questioned whether the effort might be going too far, arguing such performances shouldn’t encourage workers to flout the law.

“It’s always good for people to know their rights, but we also have to be careful we’re not going anything to encourage illegal immigration,” said Steven Camarota, director of research at the Washington-based Center for Immigration Studies.

In Los Angeles, organizers said the plays can be therapeutic for workers who are often reluctant to share their experiences of employer abuse, discrimination and loneliness. The skits have also lifted the spirits of those who have joined the troupe’s rotating cast, which currently has about a dozen members, though they don’t all perform on every tour.

Moran said the group saved her from falling into depression after she came to the U.S. from Guatemala. She was working construction gigs she landed outside Home Depot, often the only woman on a job.

“The theater is what brought me back to life,” said Moran, a 39-year-old college graduate who started as a volunteer actor and is now paid to administer the group full-time.

Juan Romero, 49, said he was shy before he joined the cast, though he always liked to sing and write poetry. Now, the Salvadoran immigrant bellows out his roles with ease — and he thinks that confidence has also translated to his real life as a gardener and construction worker.

During the recent performance in Los Angeles, Romero played the immigrant laborer whose wife was being harassed by the couple’s boss. When his character learned what was really going on, he stood up for her, even though they lost their jobs in the process.

“The message we relay is that we’re day laborers, and we have rights,” Romero said. “We can’t let ourselves get trampled by other people, no matter how poor we are.”

Closure of Glendale center hurts day laborers

Closure of Glendale center hurts day laborers

By Susan Abram, Staff Writer | Posted: 07/22/2011 09:20:50 PM PDT | Source: DailyNews.com

 

Closure of Glendale center hurts day laborers

Day laborers hang out on Harvard Street west of San Fernando Road outside the Home Depot in Glendale on July 20, try 2011. A day-labor center at the location has been closed due to budget cuts. (John McCoy/Staff Photographer)

The day-labor center built alongside the railroad tracks on San Fernando Road in Glendale was a modest structure, where vines of honeysuckle dangled over a fence and men and women gathered daily.

There was a restroom and picnic tables and nice people who came by and taught English or offered basic medical care.

For Miguel Nunez and the nearly 100 other day laborers and housekeepers who frequented the site each morning, the center meant protection from exploitive employers.

It also meant the crowds of day laborers stayed away from Home Depot and other unofficial gathering spots that often disturbed customers and neighbors.

 

Closure of Glendale center hurts day laborers

Miguel Nunez hangs out near the parking lot at Home Depot at the intersection of Harvard Street and San Fernando Road in Glendale on July 20, 2011. The Temporary Skilled Worker Center accross the street has been closed due to budget cuts. (John McCoy/Staff Photographer)

But the center closed last month, one of several Los Angeles area sites that have shut down recently because of the bad economy.Now, Nunez and dozens of other day laborers wait outside the Home Depot – across the street from the shuttered center – hoping to be paid fair wages for the manual work they’re hired to do.

“An employer will tell you they’ll give you $15 an hour, then after you’ve worked all day, they’ll pay you $40 and say, `That’s all I have,”‘ said Nunez, who has been a day laborer for 17 of his 46 years.

“Sometimes, they just don’t pay at all,” he said.

Opened in 1997 in response to complaints about day laborers lingering on corners or running toward construction trucks, the Glendale labor center was regarded as one of the nation’s most innovative. Officials came from as far as New York and New Jersey to see how it worked.

Catholic Charities operated the center, where day laborers congregated and employers negotiated wages.

In its first few years, it was funded by Community Development Block Grants and federal funds, then later by the city of Glendale. It closed on June 30, one of three shut down recently in Los Angeles.

“The whole purpose of the day laborer site was so we could improve the quality of life in the area,” said Glendale city spokesman Tom Lorenz.

But some of those funding streams began to dwindle and others were diverted to different programs. At the same time, labor organizations filed a lawsuit against a Glendale ordinance that prohibited anyone from soliciting a job near a business.

The ordinance was eventually struck down in 2006 and many men began going back to the corners to seek jobs, Lorenz said.

In the meantime, the city of Glendale paid nearly $90,000 year to keep the site open but decided last month it could not afford it anymore.

“The center suffered the consequences of those (federal) cuts” and the lawsuit, Lorenz said.

“During a budget crisis, it comes down to dollars and cents.”

A spokesman for Home Depot said the company respects Glendale’s decisions. Officially, Home Depot does not allow day laborers to solicit work on company property, but it cannot prevent the laborers from gathering on the public sidewalk nearby.

“Regardless of the closure, we maintain a nonsolicitation policy at our stores. As for other closings, we’re not aware of any other center closings (other than Glendale), and we really feel it’s a decision for the city leaders,” said Steve Holmes, a corporate spokesman for Home Depot.

While day-laborer rights groups hesitate to call the closures a trend, they remain troubled.

“As you see unemployment rise you see more people entering an unconventional job market and then you see more unscrupulous employers trying to take advantage of people’s circumstances,” said B. Loewe, a spokesman for the National Organizing Day Laborer Network, one of the organizations that fought Glendale’s nonsolicitation ordinance.

“The more people looking for work, the more abuse is likely to occur, which makes worker centers more important than most think,” Loewe said.

The closing of local centers doesn’t seem to be a national trend, he said. Across the nation, centers are opening in Connecticut, Virginia and North Carolina.

“They realize it’s because of the crucial role (the centers) are playing,” Loewe said.

Others believe that communities and police departments can work together to maintain formal areas where day laborers could gather.

“The police can be a very strong partner in building free, open zones,” said Jorge-Mario Cabrera, spokesman for the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles.

“These centers offer education opportunities, food, medical services and a basic level of protection. Physical abuse, sexual abuse or not being paid, day laborers have always been victims of those abuses, but being at the center allows for certain levels of respect and accountability.”

But even centers that have that community support are struggling.

“The economy has affected us, too,” said Oscar Mondragon, director of the operations for the Malibu Community Labor Exchange, which opened in 1993.

“A month ago, we were looking at shutting it down,” Mondragon said.

Thanks to fundraisers, the center will remain open for now. But times are tough, Mondragon said, even in Malibu.

Moeed Khan, regional director for Catholic Charities of Los Angeles, said he was uncertain if the Glendale center will reopen.

It comes down to who will step up to help with funding the site so that basic utilities can be paid.

“I was very proud of the center,” Khan said. “I’m sad that it closed. It is a reflection of the times.”

Nunez, the man who waited on Wednesday morning outside Home Depot for a job, said since the recession, he now works three days a week instead of six.

He said he hopes the city reconsiders its funding.

“I have faith it will open again,” he said. “These bad times can’t last forever.”

President Obama’s Credibility Gap On Display at NCLR Convention

Washington, DC.
In response to President Obama’s speech today at the annual convention of the National Council de la Raza, Pablo Alvarado, Director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network issued this statement:
“Despite soaring rhetoric, the President’s unbridled enforcement of unjust and outdated immigration laws has contributed to an unprecedented civil rights crisis for our community. And his administration has deported over one million people, surpassing the total number of people removed during Operation Wetback. The President can now claim the title, deporter-in-chief.
We know ICE has gone rogue, but we’re starting to feel like the President is going rogue on immigration too. It is not enough for him to blame Congress or to bemoan the difficulty of his job. He can- and must- take action to protect members of our community who are under siege.
The President can use existing authority to move the country in the right direction. He should take swift action to prevent the Arizonification of the country by refusing to let local police act as agents of deportation. For example, the President should, as the Congressional Hispanic Caucus has requested, immediately suspend the Se Communities program until the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General can complete her report. At this rate, President Obama’s S-Comm policy will go down in history with Eisenhower’s ‘Operation Wetback.’ Both have the same pernicious consequences, but one has a better speech writer.” …

Record Deportations Demonstrate Credibility Gap for President Obama

(Los Angeles) In response to the Associated Press article published today, Pablo Alvarado, Director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network commented,
“The alarming deportation statistics released in the AP report are a matter for national concern. The arbitrary enforcement of unjust immigration laws will widen the President’s credibility gap among Latinos. The President should either hold ICE accountable for belying his campaign promises, or the President himself should be held accountable. As the Congressional Hispanic Caucus has requested, the Se Communities program should be immediately suspended until the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General can complete her report. At this rate, President Obama’s S-Comm policy will go down in history with Eisenhower’s “Operation Wetback.” Both have the same pernicious consequences, but one has a more clever name.”
The National Day Laborer Organizing Network has led efforts against the Se Communities program; litigating in federal court to uncover the truth under the Freedom of Information Act and coordinating the Turning the Tide campaign whose local participants have led to the states of Illinois, New York, and Massachusetts opting-out of the troubling programs because of the dragnet effect reported by the AP today.
###…

Wage theft prevention ordinance moves forward

Wage theft prevention ordinance moves forward

07.20.11 – 2:11 pm | By Rebecca Bowe | Source: San Francisco Bay Guardian Online

Wage theft prevention ordinance moves forward

Members of the Progressive Workers Alliance celebrate after committee members voice support for stronger worker protections. Photo by Rebecca Bowe

Supervisors expressed strong support July 20 for an ordinance that a San Francisco coalition of labor advocates is pushing for to prevent wage theft and shore up protections for low-income workers. Spearheaded by Sups. Eric Mar and David Campos with Sups. Ross Mirkarimi, link Jane Kim, John Avalos, and David Chiu as co-sponsors, the legislation would enhance the power of the city’s Office of Labor Standards and Enforcement (OLSE) and double fines for employers who retaliate against workers.

Dozens of low-wage restaurant workers, caregivers, and day laborers turned out for a July 20 Budget & Finance Committee meeting to speak in support of the Wage Theft Prevention Ordinance, which was drafted in partnership with the Progressive Workers Alliance. The umbrella organization includes grassroots advocacy groups such as the Chinese Progressive Association, the Filipino Community Center, Pride at Work, Young Workers United, and others.

A restaurant worker who gave his name as Edwin said during the hearing that he’d been granted no work breaks, no time off, and had his tips stolen by his employer during a two-and-a-half year stint in a San Francisco establishment, only to be fired for trying to take a paid sick day. “When I was let go, I did not receive payment for my last days there,” he said.

His experience is not uncommon. An in-depth study of labor conditions in Chinatown restaurants conducted by the Chinese Progressive Association found that some 76 percent of employees did not receive overtime pay when they worked more than 40 hours in a week, and roughly half were not being paid San Francisco’s minumum wage of $9.92 an hour.

“People who need a job and can’t afford to lose it are vulnerable to exploitation,” Shaw San Liu, an organizer with the Chinese Progressive Association who has been instrumental in advancing the campaign to end wage theft, told the Guardian.

The ordinance would increase fines against employers from $500 to $1,000 for retaliating against workers who stand up for their rights under local labor laws. It would establish $500 penalties for employers who don’t bother to post notice of the minimum wage, don’t provide contact information, neglect to notify employees when OLSE is conducting a workplace investigation, or fail to comply with settlement agreements in the wake of a dispute. It would also establish a timeline in which worker complaints must be addressed.

“The fact is that even though we have minimum wage laws in place, those laws are still being violated not only throughout the country but here in San Francisco,” Campos told the Guardian. “Wage theft is a crime, and we need to make sure that there is adequate enforcement — and that requires a change in the law so that we provide the Office of Labor Standards and Enforcement more tools and more power to make sure that the rights of workers are protected. Not only does it protect workers, but it also protects businesses, because the vast majority of businesses in San Francisco are actually … complying with the law, and it’s not fair for them to let a small minority that are not doing that get away with it.”

So far, the ordinance is moving through the board approval process with little resistance. Mayor Ed Lee has voiced support, and Budget Committee Chair Carmen Chu, who is often at odds with board progressives, said she supported the goal of preventing wage theft and thanked advocates for their efforts during the hearing. The item was continued to the following week due to several last-minute changes, and will go before the full board on Aug. 2.

Stakeholders look toward day-laborer center

By Susan Dickson, Staff Writer | July 21, 2011 | Source: CarrboroCitizen.com

As one group of residents fights Carrboro’s anti-lingering ordinance, another is looking toward a solution that could resolve the issues surrounding the law – a day-laborer center.

Though discussions are in the very early stages, local Latino leaders, law enforcement, elected officials, day laborers and other stakeholders are talking about just how this community might find a solution that could improve the situation for everyone.

In December, Orange County Justice United asked the mayors of Carrboro and Chapel Hill and others to convene a task force to examine and address the issues surrounding day laborers, and last month 30 to 40 residents and leaders came together to talk about those issues.

“I think it’s really important that we have a sanctioned place for workers so that they can be distinguished from folks who are not necessarily looking for work,” Carrboro Board of Aldermen member Randee Haven-O’Donnell said.

Day laborers, many of them Latino, often gather at the intersection of Davie and Jones Ferry roads in hopes that contractors will come by and offer them work. In November 2007, the board of aldermen approved an anti-lingering ordinance for the intersection after residents of the surrounding neighborhood complained of public alcohol consumption, public urination and littering in the areas around the intersection. The ordinance prohibits lingering at the intersection between 11 a.m. and 5 a.m.

The board recently heard claims that the ordinance is unconstitutional and voted to take another look at it when it reconvenes in September.

Mauricio Castro, a member of Justice United’s immigrant-family action team and a leader in the Latino community, said he felt it was more important to focus on a solution for day laborers than on the ordinance.

“We don’t see the ordinance at this point as a priority for the work that we’re doing because we believe that the ordinance will fix itself if we have a suitable place where the workers can gather and find work,” he said.
Haven-O’Donnell said she felt it was important to separate the issues of a possible center and the ordinance.

“If the focus is on the ordinance, then it’s fueling the negative energy of the neighbors and the community and capturing the workers when [the two issues] need not be connected,” she said. “There is a way to do this. There is a way to decouple it and that’s by getting the workers a dignified not only work station but eventually a work center,” which could provide services in addition to a gathering space.

Castro said he and others on the team are doing research on day-laborer centers and the experiences of other communities to determine how best to approach such a center. Castro said the center could be an organized setting that could provide protection for both workers and those who hire them. At the June stakeholder meeting, representatives from the National Day Laborer Organizing Network presented best-practices strategies and other information to those in attendance.

“We want people to really understand this,” Castro said. “It’s very easy these days, with the anti-immigrant rhetoric that we have, that people can take this out of context.”

Haven-O’Donnell said that one of the most important points that she took from the discussions was the need for the workers to be on board with whatever direction a possible solution takes.

“You can set up certain things, but if they’re wary of being involved and they’re not involved, they can’t help move it forward,” she said. “My key interest is making sure that their status is elevated as workers.”

El Centro Hispano, which hosted the June meeting, has been suggested as a possible location for a day-laborer center, but Castro said he wants to think outside of the box and explore all options in the community before making a decision.

“We want to do it right,” Castro said. “Part of my job and responsibility is to make sure that, at the end, there is a resolution one way or the other.

“At some point, we are going to have to make the call about whether we have a center or whether we have a corner that’s better organized,” he said.

For now, the team will continue to conduct research and educate the public, Castro said, adding that he hopes to have a more specific plan – that won’t involve fighting the ordinance – within the next six months.