The city will kick in half a million dollars to open and expand job centers for day laborers, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said Monday.
The centers serve as hiring halls for mostly immigrant laborers who have traditionally gathered on street corners waiting for work, instead providing a safe spot where contractors can show up to hire people for construction, roofing, and other jobs.
The $500,000 grant will go towards expanding an existing center in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, and opening new ones in Queens and Staten Island.
“Unfortunately day laborers often have to deal with harsh conditions and exploitive labor practices,” Mark-Viverito said. “A lot of times these workers are seen as dispensable. And they’re actually indispensable.”
They also help laborers negotiate a fair wage with bosses, in addition to connecting them with legal advice if they’re ripped off and offering training in skills like plumbing and electrical work.