)“You see a contractor managing a job one day and you think ‘Why not me?’” said Carlos Diaz. The day laborer was one of several dozen people gathered at Don Juan’s restaurant in Mount Pleasant on a weekend evening in April, to form a worker-owned cooperative, seeking to break away from the risk and uncertainty typical of their jobs on local construction sites. “I don’t like being dependent (for my job) on a mediator or a subcontractor,” explained Carlos Castillo, who emigrated from Peru two years ago when university strikes interrupted his studies in mechatronics. Castillo and others said they don’t like waiting around in a parking lot for a job. After he was paid only a week’s wages for a two-week job, an instance of wage theft that is common among day laborers, Castillo got in touch with Arturo Griffiths, an organizer with DC Jobs with Justice, which runs the day laborer group Union de Trabajadores.
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