Learn About Day Laborers
Who are Day Laborers? Day laborers are low-wage workers whose employment is established on a temporary basis. They usually perform difficult tasks such as hauling debris, construction, painting, roofing and landscaping. Day laborers are among the most economically vulnerable of the immigrant community due to irregular and strenuous work, unsafe working conditions and unscrupulous employers, and typical wages that fall far below the poverty level. Their high visibility often places them on the front-line of anti-immigrant backlash.
The majority of Long Island day laborers are Latino men, who have emigrated here due to economic, social, and political problems in their home countries. However, with the current economic crisis, day laborers are often a highly mobile population as they move from place to place in search of work.
Issues Faced by Day Laborers: Day laborers face many unique challenges, including:
- Unpredictable employment
- Exploitive employers and non-payment of wages
- Lack of language skills and culture shock
- Dangerous and difficult working conditions
- Incidents of harassment
Why Has the Number of Day Laborers Increased in the Last Decade? The increase of day laborers on Long Island is the consequence of globalization and U.S. economic and political foreign policy. Like many regions, Long Island has a need for temporary and unskilled workers a need chiefly met by the growing immigrant community. Latino immigrant workers are a crucial part of Long Island?s urban and rural economies, yet most have little or no stability in their jobs.
Like the rest of the country, Long Island is currently suffering from the impact of the economic downturn, many of our workers are facing higher levels of poverty. Furthermore, immigrants across the country are experiencing an increase in hate crimes due to high levels of fear and antagonism felt in the US today. Day laborers form a valuable and productive workforce and have the right to dignified and humane working conditions.