La esquina (the corner): Day laborers on the margins of New York’s formal economy.

Theodore, Nik, Abel Valenzuela Jr, and Edwin Meléndez.

WorkingUSA 9, no. 4 (2006): 407-423.


This article presents the findings of a survey of day laborers who gather at informal hiring sites in the New York metropolitan area. Day laborers are employed by construction contractors, landscaping companies, homeowners, and small businesses to undertake manual labor jobs for low pay. The work is precarious and steady employment is rare. In addition, the day labor market is characterized by routine violations of labor and employment laws, and workers are often exposed to unsafe working conditions. These conditions prevail, in part, because day laborers largely are disconnected from workers rights’ advocacy efforts. However, the creation of worker centers aims to remedy this situation. Several community organizations in the region are now actively contesting abuses in the day labor market and increasing both accountability in and transparency of the hiring process.

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