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Day labor is defined by very short employment periods, often spanning several hours or days. The terms of employment are frequently subject only to verbal agreement, and this, along with the precarious legal status of many day laborers, leads to high levels of employer abuse.
In the face of these challenges, worker centers offer the best hope of helping day laborers fight abusive work relations, while also addressing the common safety and aesthetic concerns that communities with informal day labor corners often have. Worker centers provide a space off the street where day laborers and employers can negotiate wages, and also set rules and expectations of behavior that both parties must follow in exchange for the privilege of using the center's facilities.
This issue of Zoning Practice offers suggestions for planners attempting to balance day laborers' need for employment against the wider community's interest in maintaining orderly appearances and traffic safety.
About the Author
Maximilian Eisenburger, AICP