About The Bay: The Plight Of Day Laborers

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Work has slowed down for many day laborers in the Bay Area as the economy slowly tries to rebound.

At San Francisco’s Day Laborer Agency calls come in as a contractor is looking for someone to help him power wash a house. One woman named Bella said she’s “very strong” and takes the job, which will pay her $50 for three hours of work.

But many aren’t quite as fortunate, struggling to find any type of work.

“We’re in a period where it’s super-slow and it doesn’t support us,” said a day laborer, who only identified himself as Jose, through a translator.

KCBS’ Mike Sugerman Reports About the Bay:

Any money that Jose makes goes back to his family in Mexico, whom he hasn’t seen in many years.

“Do you go back and froth over the border?” asked KCBS reporter Mike Sugerman.

“No, no, I’ve been here eight years and I haven’t gone back to see my family.”

Jim Quesada is an anthropologist at San Francisco State University and is studying day laborers.

“With the militarization of the border, people find themselves more caught and stuck here,” he said. “In the past, it was easier for migrant laborers to go back and forth across the border.”

But new immigration laws and tougher enforcement seem to be working in that regard.

That’s good news for those who believe the people on the streets are taking jobs from Americans. But for those on the street in this economy, it means the long days of trying to find work are just getting longer.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

More from Mike Sugerman
  • Sam Mallory

    I almost feel bad for them then I realize how many times I have been harassed by these same guys for not hiring them. Also do we not have like a 12% unemployment rate in America? Nice open armed journalism.

  • Sundance

    It must be a long and boring day for Mike Sugarman if he can’t find anything more newsworthy.

  • Do-It-Yourself

    I offered one of these guy $9/hr to help me lay tiles in my house and he said no, wanted more. I said good bye and hired a white dude willing to work for that wage instead. Boy, that was a mistake.

  • Chuck

    “Times are tough for economic refugees.” And…? Times are ALWAYS tough if you’re an economic refugee, and times are tough right now for record numbers of regular citizens. OK: I feel sorry for them. That’s the extent of my response.

  • tj

    How’s that sanctuary city thing working out for you SF? Maybe Jose should send himself back to mexico also instead of sending just the money. Illegal aliens are the main reason SF sucks now. I KNOW. I was born and raised there.

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