New center in Yonkers aims to help day laborers get more than just jobs

Joe Torres Image
Monday, May 1, 2023
New Yonkers center aims to help day laborers get more than just jobs
The Yonkers Day Labor Center is a new gathering place and educational center for men and women who used to look for contract work on Yonkers Avenue.

YONKERS, Westchester County (WABC) -- It's the dawn of a new day following the grand opening of the Yonkers Day Laborer Center on Monday.

The facility was designed for the men and women who previously lined up on Yonkers Avenue hoping for work from a contractor or homeowner to hire them for the day.

Jose Galdamez is from El Salvador.

"The community needs a roofer so they don't go to the street to look for them anymore, they come to the center and ask them, do you have a certified roofer?" Galdamez said.

The Labor Center is organized by Catholic Charities and was officially unveiled by Cardinal Timothy Dolan.

It's much more than a gathering place, workers will go there for educational training, legal counsel, OSHA certification and more.

"We have enrichment classes from English classes to guitar classes, nanny training, nail care, we also have English conversation partnerships," said Lucia Goyen of Catholic Charities.

The creation of the facility took almost 10 years due to bureaucratic red tape, zoning issues, local regulation and then the pandemic.

"And during the pandemic it was a terrible time for the day laborers, terrible time, we were crying every day, a lot of day laborers died," said Janet Hernandez with the Yonkers Day labor Center.

The center also educates workers on how to prevent wage theft from unscrupulous employers who pay workers less than they were promised.

Those employers will now know that there is a small army of advocates, politicians and social watchdogs to hold them accountable.

ALSO READ | Report finds 50% of working-age New Yorkers don't earn enough to meet basic needs

Half of NYC's households don't have enough money to comfortably hold an apartment, access sufficient food and basic health care.


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