El Centro Hispano Working to Establish Worker’s Center

A local organization is trying to formalize a system of workers in Orange County who are looking for work each day.

Every morning, at or before 6 o’clock, people gather on a corner in Orange County and wait, hoping for a car to come along with someone needing work done. They have no guarantee that they will find work that day. And even worse, they have no guarantee that if they are picked up for a job, and they complete the task, that they will be paid.

This is the life of a day laborer: hoping for work and a paycheck.

El Centro Hispano is an organization that serves Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Durham, and the surrounding area, whose mission is to help Latinos integrate into and strengthen the community.

They are working to provide a framework to this day-laborer system through the construction of a worker’s center.

“The idea is to have a grand opening in April of the worker’s center,” says El Centro President and CEO Pilar Rocha-Goldberg.

She says this system will aid both workers and employers.

“The idea is to give a safe and educational place to the workers,” she says. “But (it’s) also connecting the employers with the workers and easing tension between community members and workers on the corner.”

Rocha-Golderg adds this center will serve as an asset to the entire community.

“It is going to be an economic development improvement for employers and workers,” she says. “The idea is to open it, not only for Latinos, but for every worker looking for a job.”

She says this center will allow the workers to come to a safe environment where they can learn additional skills. The center will then provide a network of qualified workers to choose from for those seeking assistance.

There are obstacles that still stand between the idea of the system and the reality of a functioning day-laborer center.

“We are trying to raise money to finish,” she says. “We need to build a second bathroom at El Centro and also another door and a ramp. We need money to start the system running. We need your help and your support.”

Rocha-Goldberg says they offer many services to the community, including health services, educational offerings, and help with translation when a language barrier exists.

If you would like to support El Centro Hispano in their mission to complete a day-laborer center, you can donate through their website.


NC In June: Fewer Employed, Jobless Rate Flat

More than 8,500 fewer people in North Carolina were employed in June compared to May, although the state’s jobless rate remained flat, according to the state Department of Commerce.

North Carolina’s 6.4 percent seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in June is now 0.3 percent higher than the national average and ranks the state tied for 32nd with Alaska. Bordering states South Carolina and Virginia are tied at 17th with 5.3 percent, Tennessee at 36th with 6.6 percent, and Georgia at 44th with 7.4 percent.

Unemployment claims in North Carolina fell by more than 2,100 people from May to June. Over the year, the number fell by more than 89,000 people, dropping the jobless rate from 8.3 percent in June 2013 to 6.4 percent this year.

North Carolina’s unemployment rate saw a small increase in May from its lowest point of 6.2 percent in April. That marked a low of more than five years, dating back to the start of the Great Recession.

County-by-county unemployment rates in North Carolina are scheduled to release July 30. To see the full breakdown of the state’s unemployment rate, click here.


Veto No. 2: Seasonal Work Limit Remains 90 Days

RALEIGH – Governor Pat McCrory says he took a stand Thursday to protect your state’s jobs with his second veto while in office. He vetoed House Bill 786, entitled the Reclaim NC Act.

The Governor says the bill would have allowed businesses to overlook a greater number of employees and whether or not they are legal citizens. He says, “Every job an illegal immigrant takes is one less job available for a legal North Carolina citizen.”

Seasonal workers are currently allowed 90 days of employment without going through the E-Verify process to check their citizenship. The bill Gov. McCrory vetoed would have extended the seasonal worker definition to nearly nine months, which the Governor says concerns him because it would open areas other than agriculture to the lack of review of employees.

***The bill would have created a study of whether or not to extend the seasonal worker limit past 90 days.