For Immediate Release

April 22, 2016

Contact: Armando Carmona,, (323) 250-3018; Sierra Golden,, 206.686.2640

NDLON: New Report Reveals How Seattle’s Casa Latina is Fighting Poverty Amongst Day Laborers

Seattle, WA: In the 1990s Day Laborers in Seattle had very few options when looking for work, they would wait on street corners hoping someone would come by and hire them. When Casa Latina opened its first hiring hall in Belltown, they finally had a more sustainable alternative. They could become members and participate a daily lottery, which attempts to distribute jobs more equitably. Since then, thousands have chosen to be Casa Latina members and while there has consistently been a community consensus on the positive impacts of the center, there has hardly been quantifiable proof.
Now, Casa Latina and it’s members are excited to announce a formal study that confirms that day laborers dispatched from Casa Latina face fewer hardships than workers that continue to wait on street corners. In 2012 and 2015, Nik Theodore, a researcher at the University of Illinois at Chicago, visited Seattle and surveyed workers at Casa Latina and at informal hiring sites on street corners. The study is the first of its kind and is proof that “Casa Latina has directly improved workers’ earnings by increasing their employment rates, maintaining wage standards, and reducing wage theft” as stated by Theodore himself. The report, funded by the Ford Foundationand published by the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) provides a detailed explanation of the results of Casa Latina’s efforts.
In 2015, 9% of workers at Casa Latina experienced wage theft. At informal hiring sites, that number was 38%. Marcos Martinez, executive director of Casa Latina said: “It’s heartening that Theodore’s study illustrates in such graphic terms that our programs lead to overall improvements for day laborers. It’s a priceless tool for illustrating our approach and the importance of our work.” Wage theft, or the denial of earned wages, is a widespread concern among informal and contingent workers across the country.
The  study (which can be read in its entirety here) also reveals that in 2015, workers at Casa Latina had much higher daily employment rate over workers at informal hiring sites. Finally, depending on the type of work done, workers at Casa Latina were paid up to 25% more than workers who were not members. Hilary Stern, founder of Casa Latina said, “This is proof that we’re lifting people out of poverty… it validates our strategies for raising the floor for all workers.”
Pablo Alvarado, Executive Director of NDLON, explained: “This study sets the standards for all day worker centers across the country. It shows that these worker centers are an asset to workers because when they are organized they can defend and protect each other. Most importantly these centers have become an asset to the community because they provide better services for employers and support for workers.”
Theodore’s study highlights the ways in which Casa Latina and similar Worker Centers all over the country are a triple threat in the fight against poverty. Worker centers provide hardworking individuals more jobs, they attract safer and better paying jobs, and they offer increased access to justice.
About Casa Latina: Casa Latina is a nonprofit organization that empowers Latino immigrants through educational and economic opportunities, including day labor employment, English language classes, workplace safety and job skills trainings, leadership development, and community organizing around issues of public policy that affect immigrant workers. Casa Latina envisions a day when the Latino community participates fully in the economy and democracy of this country.
Interviews and/or photos available by request.

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