A Day Labor Center is opening in Charlotte to advocate on behalf of the immigrants and native Charlotteans who stand daily at busy intersections in search of jobs.
The nonprofit Latin American Coalition, which is driving the project, says the center will open March 1 at St. John’s United Methodist Church in the 4000 block of Monroe Road.
All services will be provided for free to the laborers.
“The mission of the Day Labor Center is to assure its members fair payment and to provide a safe place where day laborers, temporary workers and domestic workers can find support when negotiating for work directly with employers,” according to a statement from Carolina Diaz of the Latin American Coalition.
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Immigrant advocates have sought for years to create a center for day laborers, who are often victimized by unscrupulous employers. The Latin American Coalition and other immigrant groups have frequently heard reports of workers hired but never paid. In some cases, immigrant laborers were even stranded at work sites outside of Charlotte in neighboring counties, organizers said.
To help prevent that, the new center will ask employers to register before picking up laborers. The site will also provide labor rights education and help workers negotiate salaries. Diaz said the center is also hoping to recruit employers who can offer longer term jobs to the laborers.
The Monroe Road corridor has long been a popular spot for employers seeking last minute painters, landscapers, movers, cleaners and construction workers. However, redevelopment in the area has forced the workers to move from spot to spot in recent years, including periods when they had to stand in the cold and rain. The laborers typically start showing up at 6 a.m., and most are gone by 2 p.m.
The new center will allow the laborers to stand indoors while they wait for jobs, officials said.