Carlos arrived at 7 a.m. outside a Home Depot store in Bedford-Stuyvesant and waits for someone to hire him to do home repairs. A year ago I was working for a construction company but it didn’t last.
“Because of COVID, because of the pandemic, the company kind of went bankrupt, closed, and we were left without work … As a result of the pandemic, many of us were without work, we have to go to this stop to find daily sustenance,” he explained Charlie.
And it is that in this street near the DIY and hardware store they say that recently the number of day laborers has doubled but there is less demand.
“In recent weeks, the number of workers here has increased, it will be because it is the pandemic … More than 150 people,” added Jhon Romero, another day laborer.
This has caused that there are those who only find work two days a week.
“It only comes out for rent and a little food, but sometimes it does not come out, here it is not to make money, just to survive,” said Romero.
Alexis shows us the empty checks she recently got for more than three thousand dollars. He explains that, in addition to the lack of work, there is the theft of wages that continues to rise, endangering the financial situation of these immigrants.
“Frustrated, because I have to come here to look for work, because imagine, like me, there are other people who owed him and couldn’t do anything,” said Alexis.
Around one in the afternoon, some decide to leave because they say that work comes in the early hours of the day.
Others buy a little food in the hope that some car will come to hire them in the ‘parking lot’ of the store, which sometimes creates a conflict with the establishment. They defend their right to find a livelihood.
“We are even helping this warehouse to have more fluidity of merchandise because it has the workforce outside and then they did not see that, they threw us out harshly,” added Carlos.