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DAY WORKER CENTER

Maria Marroquin


DAY WORKER CENTER M

aria has been with Day Worker Center since the beginning. The center helps the immigrants, the jobless, the homeless, and anyone in need of work. It offers them opportunities to find safe work, it also offers High School equivalency classes (GED), including English, and computer classes. The center provides the workers with art supplies and other activities to keep the workers busy. This helps the workers to stay active and creative. A health bus stops by the Day Worker Center once a week to provide health care for the workers. Without this center, there would be a lot more jobless, and homeless people in our community of Mountain View.

MISSION Connect workers and employers in a safe and supportive environment. Empower workers to improve their socio-economic condition through fair employment, education, and job skills training. Participate in advocacy efforts that support the day laborer community. The day worker center gets people in need on their feet, and gives people a feel of community.

She has been running the Day Worker Center almost a decade and she has worked with day workers for over fourteen years. Maria’s passion, diplomacy, and her ability to make allies of so many people is the reason that the Day Worker Center of Mountain View has a permanent facility that has served as its home for the past three years. The Day Worker Center of Mountain View currently runs out of a permanent, worker-maintained building; services are provided, lives are changed, volunteer opportunities are available, ESL classes are taught every day, and men and women find dignified employment in the building that Maria, and the many people she rallied, made a reality. The Day Worker Center of Mountain View currently runs out of a permanent.


Marias Env olvement R In a new project, day workers are learning how to organically farm so they can grow vegetable and fruit “Victory Gardens” at the homes of local seniors who can’t do their own gardening anymore.“If they keep this up, they’ll have enough money in no time,” said the Rev. Bob Moran, a priest at St. Joseph who drove his vintage 1965 Volkswagen Beetle in for a wash. He mentioned a recent Los Angeles Times/University of Southern California poll suggesting that California’s mood toward

She said a permanent home would strengthen the center by adding stability and familiarity, making it easier for everyone workers, employers, volunteers and funders to find and support the center. Rene San Agustin, 53, lost his job when the equipment rental company that employed him for years shut down. He said his wife’s restaurant job can barely meet the rent for a one-bedroom apartment they share with their three young children. “I’ve been getting some work through the center,” he said. Unfortunately, in a deep recession.

As for why this story isn’t reported “honestly,” we tend to give the participants the benefit of the doubt. It’s entirely possible that government statisticians put their thumb on the numbers to make them look “better” than they really are. In our experience, the folks at the Bureau of Labor Statistics take their work seriously and try to get it right. So do most of the news outlets that report the “official” number every month. Unfortunately, in a deep recession, that number just doesn’t tell the whole story.


Statistics The day workers, of course, know carwashes don’t have that much monetary horsepower. Marroquin says grants from local towns and philanthropies will cover most of the remaining money needed for a permanent, $960,000 hiring center a quarter-mile from downtown. The carwash was one of several ways the mostly immigrant and Latino day laborers have employed to fit into Silicon Valley. Facing widespread opposition to illegal immigration at the time, the center opened in 1996. Moving from one temporary location to the next, the center gradually won the legal permits it needed from Mountain View and, one could say, social acceptance on the Peninsula. In the recent past, the jornaleros have cleaned up parks and other public eyesores on their own time and held blood drives. They have invited high school students to do community service at the center, served meals and helped any way

The problem starts with the official definition of who is unemployed. For example, if you’ve decided that you’re never going to find a job like the one you lost, and you go back to school to get retrained, you’re not in the work force, and you’re not unemployed. Likewise, if you’re in

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your late 50s, and every potential employer tells you you’re just too old or overqualified, you may give up looking and hope your savings will carry you over until you can collect Social Security. In that case, you’re considered “retired” again.

The “official” number, also known as U-3, includes people who don’t have a job, “have actively looked for work in the prior four weeks, and are currently available for work.” By this definition, if you’re not looking for work or working part-time, you’re not unemployed. The next broadest measure, U-4, adds “discouraged workers” who have given up looking. As of last month, that jobless rate was 10.2 percent. The next measure, U-5, which hit 11.1 percent last month, adds in “all other marginally attached workers.” That’s BLS-speak for “persons who currently are neither working nor looking for work but indicate that they want and are available for a job and have looked for work sometime in the recent past.” The broadest measure, U-6, adds in people who are “employed part time for economic reasons.” That rate hit 17.0 percent last month.


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From the center

So the data is available if you’re willing to dig a little. There are plenty of economists and analysts who take issue with the “official” number. John Williams, who runs a Web site called Shadow Government Statis-

The “official” number, also known as U-3, includes people who don’t have a job, “have actively looked for work in the prior four weeks, and are currently available for work.” By this definition, if you’re not looking for work or working part-time, you’re not unemployed.

sometime in the recent past.” The broadest measure, U-6, adds in people who are “employed part time for economic reasons.” That rate hit 17.0 percent last month. So the data is available if you’re willing to dig a little. There are plenty of economists and analysts who take issue with the

tics, does his own calculations each month that adjusts U-6 to include an estimate of the number of “long-term” discouraged workers - those who have been in that category for more than a year - and fall off the BLS radar. By his count, the unemployment rate hit 21.4 percent last month. The “official” estimate is not a true reflection of the number of people who want and need a fulltime paycheck but don’t have one.

The next broadest measure, U-4, adds “discouraged workers” who have given up looking. As of last month, that jobless rate was 10.2 percent. The next measure, U-5, which hit 11.1 percent last month, adds in “all other marginally attached workers.” That’s BLS-speak for “persons who currently are neither working nor looking for work but indicate that they want and are available for a job and have looked for work

“official” number. John Williams, who runs a Web site called Shadow Government Statistics, does his own calculations each month that adjusts U-6 to include an estimate of the number of “long-term” discouraged workers - those who have been in that category for more than a year - and fall off the BLS radar. By his count, the unemployment rate hit 21.4 percent last month.


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