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  • U.S. citizens now showing up at day-labor hiring sites

    http://www.scrippsnews.com/node/48741
    U.S. citizens now showing up at day-labor hiring sites

    LAS VEGAS - In the latest sign of the economic free fall, U.S. citizens are starting to show up in the early mornings outside home improvement stores and plant nurseries across the Las Vegas Valley, jostling with illegal immigrants for a shot at a few hours of work.

    Experts say the slow starting but seemingly inexorable trend is occurring nationwide.

    "It's the equivalent of selling apples in the Great Depression," said Harley Shaiken, chairman of the Center for Latin American studies at the University of California, Berkeley.

    Pablo Alvarado, executive director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network in Los Angeles, said Americans in day labor lines is occurring in a number of cities. "It's happening, though still not in massive numbers," Alvarado said. In the past six months or so, he has heard of "americanos" on the street corners and parking lots of Silver Spring, Md., Long Island, N.Y., and Southern California locations.

    "It's just beginning," he said. "But I think it's only going to increase."

    In the Las Vegas Valley, where the most recent unemployment rate was 13.9 percent, one face of this phenomenon is Ken Buchanan, who describes himself as a "food and beverage" guy, most recently working four years at Renata's Sunset Lanes casino and, before that, 30 years in a string of restaurants, hotels and casinos here and in his native Chicago.

    But in 2006 Renata's closed for remodeling. When the casino reopened as Wildfire, the management did not rehire Buchanan, he said.

    In the months that followed, Buchanan, 50, discovered the difficulty of seeking work in his fifth decade, eventually winding up at a car wash.

    The banks foreclosed on the house he was renting. In the attempt to grab his things two steps ahead of the constable, he wound up missing work. He lost his job. He became homeless.

    A Hispanic man who Buchanan met in Renata's told him he had picked up work standing outside a Home Depot. One July day, Buchanan gave it a try. At first, he got nothing but sunburn. But then he started to get work. Now he's at the Home Depot six days most weeks.

    Shaiken said shaking up the mix at day labor sites might eventually produce conflict in the greater society. "It essentially shreds the argument that Americans don't want certain jobs," he said.

    In the current economy, he added, "we're almost sure to see die-hard opponents of illegal immigrants seize on the fact that we have legal workers in day labor markets," heating an already-inflamed debate.

    In the longer term, it may also lead to a more rigorous analysis of future labor markets, including revised estimates of how many immigrants would be needed under a guest worker program, as proposed in recent congressional bills.

    At the same time, Shaiken said, the issue won't become central to the debate before Congress over what is known as comprehensive reform, including a pathway for legalizing millions of workers. "The point is, do we really want a labor market with day labor work as a career path? It's more a commentary on the economy right now," he said.

    Although Alvarado allowed that the change in day labor sites was an undeniable sign of the withering economy, he also sees a "beautiful irony" in U.S. citizens seeking work as day laborers.

    That's because his organization has defended the free-speech rights of day laborers in at least 10 court cases over more than a decade. Up to now, courts have ruled in favor of the laborers.

    "We always knew (these cases) would be useful not only for immigrants, but also for U.S. citizens," Alvarado said. "We knew there would be a time when the economy would reach this point, and they also would be looking for work this way."

    Antonio Bernabe, day labor organizer for the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, said the appearance of more U.S. citizens seeking day labor work poses new challenges for organizations such as his. In recent months, he said, he has found himself explaining to a whole new group the legal rights of workers, as well as approaching local authorities to discuss the entry of new people into what he called "the world of day labor." That group includes blacks and Asians, he said.

    Bernabe said organizers came across one case where a local sheriff had been sending officers to answer complaints about day laborers and then found one day that the sheriff's neighbor, a citizen, was among them. Police in that area have been less likely to harass laborers since then, he said. These events will occur more, changing people's attitudes in the process, he said.

    "For a long time, people have looked at day laborers and said, 'The problem is the immigrants.' Now the economy is changing. Now people may see it's a problem of the labor market, of the rights of workers," Bernabe said.
    What is Perseverance?
    -Perseverance is commitment, hard work, patience, endurance.
    -Perseverance is being able to bear difficulties calmly and without complaint.
    -PERSEVERANCE IS TRYING AGAIN AND AGAIN.


    BOP - BPA - ICE

  • #2
    Let me tell you Kansan I am sorry for all these people suffering like this. I never dreamed this would be happening in America. Our own citizens just suffering, living on camps in parks with their family. Very sad and unfortunate. The other day I saw a older white man in my neighborhood driving around trying to sell meat out of the back of his truck. Don't know his background but for him to take the risk he is taking driving around in my kind of neighborhood.......... WOW! But much respect to him for trying.
    Young people will change the old wicked ways of the past.sigpic

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    • #3
      Originally posted by E3CSHARP View Post
      Let me tell you Kansan I am sorry for all these people suffering like this. I never dreamed this would be happening in America. Our own citizens just suffering, living on camps in parks with their family. Very sad and unfortunate. The other day I saw a older white man in my neighborhood driving around trying to sell meat out of the back of his truck. Don't know his background but for him to take the risk he is taking driving around in my kind of neighborhood.......... WOW! But much respect to him for trying.
      I think the same thing when I see those people. A guy in a pickup truck with a giant freezer that says "no one can beat our meat" I usually see them selling at highway off ramps and places like that.

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      • #4
        I'm seeing more people driving around picking up junk from people houses they put outside for the trash...I'm also seeing more people dumpster-diving, I know they do that at the dumpsters where I work at...
        sigpic

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        • #5
          Originally posted by E3CSHARP View Post
          Let me tell you Kansan I am sorry for all these people suffering like this. I never dreamed this would be happening in America. Our own citizens just suffering, living on camps in parks with their family. Very sad and unfortunate. The other day I saw a older white man in my neighborhood driving around trying to sell meat out of the back of his truck. Don't know his background but for him to take the risk he is taking driving around in my kind of neighborhood.......... WOW! But much respect to him for trying.
          What part of FL, South?...They've been selling meat out of coolers/back of vans for years...Nothing new, in Miami by 7 y la 27 where the flea market used to be at, they used to sell meat, shrimp, fish, everything...They even did so over by Bobby Maduro used to be at, not far from Jackson...
          sigpic

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          • #6
            I respect them for trying to work.

            I think that we should require welfare recipients and people collecting extended unemployment benefits to perform public service jobs, including public works. We would get something for our money, and they would feel that they were earning what they get. We need to end the entitlement mentality.
            Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
            Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. -- Albert Einstein

            Comment


            • #7
              These are tough times. I spent a good portion of this year unemployed and broke, so I always keep these things in my mind.
              What is Perseverance?
              -Perseverance is commitment, hard work, patience, endurance.
              -Perseverance is being able to bear difficulties calmly and without complaint.
              -PERSEVERANCE IS TRYING AGAIN AND AGAIN.


              BOP - BPA - ICE

              Comment


              • #8
                That's why I haven't left my curret job, stuff is bad...Hope it get's better by the time I graduate, I have a couple years of school left...

                There is so much I want to do...
                sigpic

                Comment


                • #9
                  Well southfla I am talking about a man, in a pickup truck driving through the "hood" selling meat. Not at some main road side or flea market area. I am talking about this older white man, apparently doing the best he can by driving through some not so great neighborhoods and verbally communicating with random people he sees to sell his meat. That is the resolve that can help take you through anything.
                  Young people will change the old wicked ways of the past.sigpic

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by DAL View Post
                    I respect them for trying to work.

                    I think that we should require welfare recipients and people collecting extended unemployment benefits to perform public service jobs, including public works. We would get something for our money, and they would feel that they were earning what they get. We need to end the entitlement mentality.
                    To be honest I agree, I think putting them to work would help the overall good big time. Better yet, the small business men who need workers, instead of handing these welfare folks free money, make them go assist the small business men if they want to receive assistance.
                    Young people will change the old wicked ways of the past.sigpic

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      If we are to increase total wealth, then we need to employ those who currently unemployed. As it is now, we are wasting our human resources.

                      In the past, efforts to create "workfare" have failed because of opposition from labor unions.
                      Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
                      Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. -- Albert Einstein

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I have no problem with able-bodied welfare recipients being expected to work, provided that child care is available for parents and that the pay scale be equivalent to what anyone else would earn at the same job, with minimum wage being the bottom line.

                        Otherwise what you have is slave or indentured labor, which is illegal & unconstitutional.

                        And why small businessmen? Why not non-profit agencies that are barely surviving & may go under, given that donations have plummeted into the toilet?

                        Then again, here's the problem: nearly every job requires certain knowledges and skills, not the least of which is how to work with others to get a job done. The agency I work for has a program that pays teens & young adults to work in businesses where they will receive training on how to be responsible workers. It is not a "given" that everybody knows how to do that.

                        Many employers shy away from this kind of labor because it takes too much work on their parts. I've heard more than a few grumble about all the work applications they get from welfare recipients because recipients are required to apply for at least two jobs per week or lose their benefits.
                        Hatred never ceases by hatred, but by love alone is healed.
                        Happiness never decreases by being shared. -- Buddhist quotation
                        A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. -- Proverbs 15:1

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by rubyrose View Post
                          I have no problem with able-bodied welfare recipients being expected to work, provided that child care is available for parents and that the pay scale be equivalent to what anyone else would earn at the same job, with minimum wage being the bottom line.

                          Otherwise what you have is slave or indentured labor, which is illegal & unconstitutional.
                          Not at all. There is no constitutional requirement that there be a minimum wage. And recipients who don't want to work would have the option of declining welfare benefits. There is no constitutional right to welfare.

                          Realistically, many people who collect welfare have few marketable skills, and so would not be fit even for the minimum wage. When you count health care, housing subsidies and food subsidies, the value of welfare benefits is likely to exceed the minimum wage anyway.
                          Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
                          Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. -- Albert Einstein

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            It wouldn't be hard putting able bodied welfare recipients to work. Even the dullest and least educated can clean up the roadways, clean up graffiti, and do basic office administration tasks at government offices.

                            I don't believe in welfare per se (handing out money for nothing in return). I believe it is a major factor, if not the biggest factor causing crime ridden and run down communities. I know for a fact that in the metro area I live in, the police spend the vast majority of their time in the areas with high concentrations of those folks. It is a recipe for disaster and I think 40+ years of it has proved that.

                            If they are hungry, make them do some work for the food. If they need shelter, make them do some work for the shelter.
                            Jubilant Patriotic Republican

                            America gave Obama the benefit of the doubt when they elected him. Obama is now giving America the doubt of the benefit of his governance......Change you can bereave in!..JPR

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                            • #15
                              I agree, in a city like nyc there are so many small corner stores that would do well with people who are on this free public assistance thing. They don't need much skills to do a wide range of sucky but decent jobs.

                              The freeness need to stop. 1/2 months of freeness ok but 5 years of freeness is outrageous.
                              Young people will change the old wicked ways of the past.sigpic

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