On a blistering cold December morning last Monday, 20 Latino people—all men, except for one woman—are sitting inside the non-descript mobile home that serves as Portland’s Day Labor Center. The sounds of people speaking Spanish quietly fills the room. One small space heater, as well as the warmth from the people, go a long way to keep the room, with a concrete floor and high ceiling, warm.
A small group of men are playing cards, slapping down the cards with gusto and laughing at jokes. The woman is leaning her head against her partner’s shoulder. Others are just sitting and waiting.
What they are waiting for is work. Many of the laborers using the Day Labor Center, which is operated by VOZ, a nonprofit advocating for day-laborers and immigrants, may wait days before an employer drives up to the center and their raffle number is picked. Continue reading