Protest held in response to New Rochelle Home Depot banning day laborers from parking lot

Marcus Solis Image
Wednesday, May 8, 2024
Protest held after New Rochelle Home Depot bans day laborers
Marcus Solis has the latest from the protest in New Rochelle.

NEW ROCHELLE, New York (WABC) -- A rally was held Wednesday in Westchester County in support of day laborers, after a Home Depot in New Rochelle banned day workers from its parking lot, a move that even led to an arrest on their property.

It was the arrest of the day laborer last month, for alleged trespassing, that sparked the protests. Day laborers and community activists are angry over stepped-up security at Home Depot that they say borders on harassment and intimidation.

"The security guard with the dogs was very aggressive towards day labors," said Jackie Agudelo with the United Community Center of Westchester.

Marcus Solis has more on the day laborer controversy and increased security measures at Home Depot from New Rochelle.

Last month, Eyewitness News captured security guards patrolling parking lots with dogs at a Home Depot in the Bronx.

The crackdown there and in New Rochelle started after customers complained of migrants aggressively offering to load up vehicles in exchange for tips.

But day laborers in New Rochelle say they're being penalized for the behavior of some recent asylum seekers. They've been forced off the property, hurting their chances of being hired, even though they say they've lived and worked in the community for years.

"They're not doing anything but working, that's what they are looking for -- work," said Diane Sanchez with the National Day Laborer Organizing Network.

"They arrested a couple of these guys, these guys are not bad people, they're not," said church pastor Ben McKnight.

Wednesday's protest took place under the watchful eyes of management.

The chain offered a generic statement: "Like many businesses in the community, we have a longstanding non-solicitation policy at our stores."

The solution organizers say, is to create a permanent work center where contractors and day laborers can coordinate.

Until that happens, the standoff in the streets continues.


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