ABC 7 NEWS
It’s an issue that rarely is talked about but now the problem is getting bigger. Day laborers doing weeks of work for contractors but not getting paid.
Some Guatemalan day laborers say they were hired by northern Virginia contractors who didn’t pay them for as much as two weeks of work. “They promise you’ll get paid on Friday and then you don’t get paid and you count on that money coming in,” said day laborer Juan Aguilar.
Aguilar says it’s happened to him three times in the last six months. “It’s a great injustice because we are all just humans,” he said. Since the day laborers are paid in cash and are in the country illegally, they have no recourse. “The only thing I want is for them to pay me because I actually worked,” said Nelson Dominguez.
“I think it’s disgusting for someone to take advantage of the most vulnerable people in our society,” said Realtor George Torres, a friend of the workers. “They know these people have no rights.” Torres befriended the men and was shocked to hear their story. “Yeah, they shouldn’t be here, but there’s a need for them, there’s a niche. If there wasn’t, they wouldn’t be here,” he said.
ABC 7’s Andrea McCarren went to see contractor Mike Caso. He allegedly owes Juan Aguilar $2,000 and Aguilar’s brother Rolando $700. ”I have no knowledge of it,” Caso said. Caso says he spent the $2,000 getting a friend of Juan’s out of jail. He says now he tries to hire only Americans. McCarren also ventured to the home of E2E Enterprises, where the owner’s sister said the workers were lying. “Whoever you’re talking about, I have no idea,” said Carol Whitehurst with E2E Enterprises.
When asked if the company hires illegal workers, Whitehurst responded, “I’m not giving you the details in what’s going on. I know what’s going on but I’m not telling you.” Juan Aguilar showed some photos of his family to McCarren,”This is my wife and this is my two kids. That’s why I’m here.” The day laborers said to cross the border into the U.S., they clung to the side of moving trains and walked for miles. Now, the day laborers say they just want to go home.