Regulating informality: Worker centers and collective action in day‐labor markets.

Theodore, Nik. 

Growth and Change 51, no. 1 (2020): 144-160.


Day-labor markets are characterized by chronic instability, low pay, and weak institutional protections against violations of labor standards. In the U.S., worker centers address these conditions through the operation of hiring halls that dispatch workers, set minimum wages, and redress wage theft. Surveys conducted in Seattle in 2012 and 2015 were used to evaluate wage rates, employment rates, and wage theft variables for workers at a worker center and those seeking employment at four informal hiring sites. Worker center members were found to have significantly higher wages, higher employment rates, and lower rates of wage theft than day laborers who search for employment in public spaces.

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