BY MARK SCHULTZ, Staff Writer | Source: ChapelHillNews.com
CARRBORO – National day laborers organizers planned to meet with local workers this weekend to discuss establishing a permanent space where they can wait for work.Chris Newman and Francisco Pacheco of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network visited Orange County to learn more about the problems local workers have and to discuss the benefits of an official day laborers center.
El Centro Hispano (The Hispanic Center) is exploring using part of its space in Carrboro Plaza for a center. El Centro is a member of the community organizing coalition Justice United and is working with that group, the towns of Carrboro and Chapel Hill, the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce and others.
Two meetings have been held with local day laborers, or jornaleros, who mostly come from Mexico, Guatemala and El Salvador but also include black citizens, said Mauricio Castro, an organizer with the N.C. Latino Coalition.
The workers have expressed concerns about wage theft (not being paid for a day’s work) and safety at the corner of Jones Ferry and Davie roads where they gather for work. The site also does not have a bathroom.
The Carrboro day laborers spot is small compared to most across the country, Pacheco said. But the problems workers are having are not unique. It’s estimated that up to half of the 120,000 day laborers in the United States at any one time have not been paid for at least one day’s work, said Newman, the legal director for the laborer network.
The organizers said they are not here to tell local leaders to create a permanent gathering spot or take any other action.
“We’re coming as a resource,” Newman said. “Obviously Carrboro needs to decide what Carrboro wants to do.”
Read more about this weekend’s meeting with day laborers coming Wednesday in The Chapel Hill News.
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