who-are-day-laborers“I Can’t Find A Job!”

I’ve been hearing this around Silver City since I was a kid.

People searching for work, but somehow unable to find it.

Permanent employment may sometimes be hard to find, but once you start looking there are more part-time and temporary jobs than you can shake a stick at.

Jobs that may only last for a few hours, a day or a week or two.

We receive calls at the Mission from many individuals and companies, especially during the summer months looking for some help.

Sometimes we have people able to fill these requests and sometimes we don’t or the people we do have might be unsuitable for one reason or another, or lack tools or transportation the employer is also unable to provide.

I’ve been wanting to start a day-labor center down here for quite some time.

Our problem has been matching workers and employers together.

Many times we will have 20 or 30 people sitting around with many of them begging me for paid work, even for an hour or two.

Other times I might receive 4 or 5 calls seeking someone to fill a temporary job, but we don’t have anyone around.

This year I am going to be working on getting a little more organized by letting the community know that we have bodies available for work and organizing the workers a little better.

The State Unemployment Office once had a program like this, but it fell by the wayside (though they might start it up again).

And according to their spokesman, it was for much the same reason.  The inability to match workers and jobs up at just the right time.

The trick to a program like this lies in getting it started.

I believe that once you have a strong program that everyone knows about, that it would be a great way for our youth, college students and the unemployed to get some work, some experience and maybe even have it turn in to long-term employment.

One solution may be to have a very small crew on hand with tools and transportation available so no matter who calls, we can always fulfill their request in a short amount of time.

Maybe our own crew or a contractors crew that would always be available, though this would not be without problems of it’s own.

And we surely need to let the community know that we have bodies available for small jobs, explain the program in detail, gain their trust and motivate them to call (but it still won’t do any good if we can’t fulfill their requests).

I’m open to any ideas, help, partnerships or solutions you may have, so please drop me a line at [email protected] if you would like to contribute to this project in any way, shape or form.

Further Reading:

San Francisco Day Labor
Los Angeles Day Labor Program
Day Labor Center
Day Labor Program Unites Politics and Services
Oakland Day Labor
Southside Worker Center

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