PRLDEF Continues Fight For Day Laborers
With recent victories in New York and New Jersey and new cases in three other municipalities, PRLDEF has become the premier Latino organization fighting for the rights of day laborers throughout the Northeast.
A recent federal court decision stopped Farmingville from unfairly evicting day laborers from their homes and in Freehold PRLDEF stopped the city from closing down an important muster zone. PRLDEF is continuing to fight for the rights of day laborers in Westchester County, Long Island and New Jersey.
In Mamaroneck, city officials recently voted to temporarily close a popular day laborer muster zone. PRLDEF was joined by the Hispanic Resource Center of Larchmont, Mamaroneck and MALDEF to urge the city council to quickly resolve the issue.
Soon after the city closed the zone, workers moved to a park a few blocks away. Though city officials recognized the rights of the workers to stand on the sidewalk, there are usually at least two police cars parked on each end of the street. At times, three or four policemen are standing with the workers. The visual effect is dramatic and has resulted in almost no contractors stopping to hire workers.
PRLDEF and the other groups wrote a letter to the city council pointing out that day laborers had a constitutional right to seek work in public areas. Municipalities that have sought to abrogate those rights “have had to confront costly litigation in federal court,” the letter said.
The city has not responded to the letter and in fact has rejected several attempts to resolve the issue without litigation. Several offers to negotiate the use of the park and one offer from the day laborers to clean the park as a sign of good faith have all been rejected. PRLDEF and the other groups are in the process of considering several legal challenges.
PRLDEF has also responded to the needs of the immigrant communities in Morristown, N.J. and Patchogue, N.Y. who are alleging possible discriminatory policies in those communities.