Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Three Days in the Life of a Migrant Laborer

Today, US companies demand access to flexible workforces, so to better compete in the global economy. Companies have discovered that agencies in immigrant communities supply inexpensive labor pools of workers who work hard. Factories are hungry for such work pools, and if they cannot access them here in the US, they might search for them in other countries.

By David Van Arsdale, Peace Newsletter
July-August 2011 and September 2011

A temporary worker should never oversleep. This was my thought as I hit the snooze button on my alarm clock two or three times. By the time I awoke, it was half past seven in the morning—far too late, I thought to myself, to find a construction or factory job through the staffing agency in Harlem through which I was working. I decided to try anyhow. I arrived to discover a mostly-vacant waiting room. There were only two other workers waiting and both of them informed me that most of the jobs were dispatched before seven, as I had suspected. Juan, a twenty-four-year-old Nicaraguan who lives in the housing projects across the street from the agency, asked me if I knew of any other agencies offering work. I asked if he wanted to come with me to try the agencies in Queens, in the Latino neighborhoods. Juan and I became quick friends, we jumped on the subway and headed for Queens. [...]

Read the two-part series:

No comments: