Forum tackles day labor concerns - East Valley Tribune: Chandler

Forum tackles day labor concerns

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Posted: Wednesday, June 1, 2005 10:48 am | Updated: 8:47 am, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Easy Valley day laborers, employers and community officials will join Thursday in a regional day labor forum.

The program will include nearly a dozen panelists representing local and national organizations.

In Chandler, concerns about day labor have centered on workers gathered along Arizona Avenue running through the city’s historic downtown area. The city is planning large-scale redevelopment projects for the downtown area to take advantage of an expected increase in visitors coming in on Loop 202, which is scheduled to be connected to Arizona Avenue next week.

The number of day laborers has increased in recent years, Chandler officials said, partly because of a decrease in agricultural jobs. Now those workers are looking for jobs in the area’s booming construction trade.

That increase, combined with perceived concerns about traffic problems and criminal activity, has raised public attention.

The Regional Day Labor Issue Forum is sponsored by human relations commissions in Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, Tempe, Scottsdale and Phoenix.

In Chandler, the City Council has asked its human relations commission for recommendations on how best to deal with day labor concerns. The commission’s report is due to the council next month.

"The trend nationally is for cities, municipalities and community organizations to open day labor work centers in response to community concerns around the day labor practice," said Chris Newman, attorney with the National Day Laborer Organizing Network who’s scheduled to participate Thursday.

But, a law signed by Gov. Janet Napolitano earlier this month creates a roadblock for local communities, he said.

The law, he said, "stands out as a very bizarre and unthoughtful law. It brings Arizona out of step with the national trend. But also because it’s likely not even enforceable."

The law blocks tax money from going to day labor centers that help find work for illegal immigrants. It apparently will not affect Chandler and Phoenix centers, because both are privately funded.

The panel discussion is scheduled to run 45 to 60 minutes with time at the end for questions from community members and municipal officials.

Day labor forum

Where: Chandler City Council chambers, 22 S. Delaware St.

When: 6-9 p.m. Thursday

Information: (480) 782-2217 or www.chandleraz.gov

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