At the break of dawn in communities around the nation, men in work clothes gather to find construction and landscaping work and similar hands-on employment at customary locations. Sometimes these day laborers work much longer hours, and for much less, than they had been promised. Most have little chance of recovering hard-earned wages. One survey found that only one in 130 cases result in a filed claim. The laws are there. Society agrees a worker deserves to be paid, but there are vast gaps in legal enforcement. That’s where New Haven’s Community Labor Rights Clinic comes in. It’s modeled after a five-year old project in Stamford, the Day Laborer Project, operated by Connecticut Legal Services. The New Haven clinic was launched last month by New Haven Legal Assistance Association attorney James Bhandary-Alexander, a former National Labor Relations Board lawyer. Two nights a month, the clinic aims to serve this underserved client population.
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