Written by WGNO ABC26 News | Friday, 02 April 2010 12:45 ABC26 News
New Orleans’ growing Hispanic population includes day laborers who came post-Katrina to help the region its reconstruction. Some outreach groups are trying to help them with crime prevention and basic needs.
Workers flock to cars in Central City hoping to get hired. They are day laborers. Most of them came after Hurricane Katrina to help rebuild, but are often targeted as walking ATMs. Jeremiah Perez says in the past year, he has been robbed twice and lost about $800, once by a group of men carrying weapons.
“One gun and they had three or four bats,” Perez said.
This is problem day laborers have been facing, and outreach groups hope to educate them about checking accounts.
Another problem day laborers have been complaining about is wage theft: working for someone and then not getting paid.
Francisco Torres says he’s been stiffed by a boss before.
“He called me and said he would come by house but he never came and at the end of the day I was still waiting and they didn’t come,” Torres said.
Volunteers who come to Central City every Friday morning are trying to get a law passed in the city to prevent wage theft.
“Other cities have had similar situations and they have enacted or passed ordinances that have taken care of the problem, at least they have criminalized the wage theft,” said community activist Marcel Rivera.
Day laborers can count on volunteers who come to Central City weekly to feed workers and lend a helping hand.
Outreach volunteers also let workers know where they can go for basic medical needs.
Source: WGNO ABC26 News