A Day In the Life of a Day Labourer, by Jorge Ortiz

Since January DC Jobs with Justice has been actively supporting the development of the Union de Trabajadores, a worker-led organization of day laborers in DC, to build unity, advocate for their rights, and create amicable relationships with the community in which they work. This is the story of one member of the Union de Trabajadores, Jorge Ortiz.rnrnDay laborers need a lot of character to stand in a corner where we face uncertainty, poverty and despair,” said Jorge Ortiz of the Union de Trabajadores. “You do not know who is going to hire you and put you at risk of being robed, exploited, kidnapped, raped, and even murdered. To make things worse, there is the fact that people who hire us know our legal status and know that most of us are not aware of our labor rights or do not know where to look for support. Psychologically, it is hard to stand in a corner feeling socially and economically abandoned to a system that has no mercy for immigrant workers. We only have mercy from God and from good employers. It is also frustrating to want to make a few dollars without knowing the language of our potential employers or when you have limited work skills to offer.rnrnAt the DC Jobs with Justic National Conference in Providence, RI, I found out that we are not alone. We got the support of American brothers with experience in the struggle for dignity of working people from all over the United States. They are fighting for workers’ rights, protection and dignity. Now I know we have friends who support us; now I know there is hope.

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