Friday, August 15, 2008

Just Want To Make Them Feel At Home

You might want to file this under "What'll they think of next?"

The Los Angeles city council has decreed that Home Depot and other big-box stores are required to build shelters for day laborers (illegal aliens and transients) who linger in their parking lots. They just want to give them a place to "chill" while they are urinating in public and drinking beer and waiting for someone to hire them for below standard wages.
"When the ordinance takes effect -- the mayor has to sign it, and most city laws take effect 30 days afterward -- it will apply to stores such as The Home Depot that have 100,000 square feet or more, or any structure where 250,000 square feet or more of warehouse floor area is added.The shelters must be easily accessible and include drinking water, bathrooms, tables, seating and trashcans. The stores may be required to work with Los Angeles police in developing a security plan, according to the unanimous vote by the 15-member lawmaking body."
The big-box stores are fast becoming the employment centers for illegals and transients, and of course this sort of thing just encourages the practice of hiring them and keeping them around the premises. Some big box stores don't seem to mind it either, because this is just real cheap labor for their customers who need someone to help them put up drywall. Oh yeah, those folks are just doing the jobs that Americans "don't want to do". Never mind that we are also encouraging an underclass of slave labor in this country while our unemployment rates rise. Yeah, yeah I know, not every day laborer is illegal, or even an immigrant... but in LA chances are they are, and my point is more to the fact that LA City Council is mandating the establishment of privately funded day labor centers when we have perfectly good temp agencies and state labor offices to help people get work. The encouragement of these day labor centers only encourages the growth of a population working under the table for substandard wages. It is wrong on so many levels.
Francisco Uribe, senior manager of government relations for The Home Depot, said the corporation does not oppose the day laborer centers.

"Although the complex challenges associated with the presence of day laborers are not specific to one industry nor one company, The Home Depot recognizes that some of our stores in the city of Los Angeles are impacted," Uribe said.

"The Home Depot has and will continue to work with the city of Los Angeles and other key stakeholders in the various communities where The Home Depot operates to jointly address these challenges," Uribe said.
But Home Depot et al. better be careful, in fact the illegals and transients are beginning to unionize!
The National Day Laborer Organizing Network, a nonprofit group started in Northridge in 2001, supports the new requirements.

"It provides for safe and dignified hiring locations where contingent workers can defend their basic rights. It carefully balances the interests of business, residents, day laborers and their employers," said the group's executive director, Pablo Alvarado.
It is interesting that the LA city Council is not only encouraging illegals and transients to be in LA - but now they are condoning trespassing and loitering on private property - and making businesses pay for it to boot!

I think if the big box stores want to build and maintain these structures - more power to them - but no other business ought to be mandated to do so. Businesses should not be mandated to provide tables, chairs, bathrooms or drinking water for random people who are loitering around waiting for a day job. Next they'll be asking for business to provide them with sandwiches and cab rides.

I particularly enjoyed the comment made by SWC, of Texas:
There are plenty of places people can go to hire workers. They're called temp agencies. They have lobbies, coffee, donuts, restrooms. More importantly they pay payroll taxes and provide workers' compensation insurance to protect the workers. Why aren't we focusing on getting labor legal instead of supporting the underground market that doesn't pay their share of taxes, doesn't provide workers' comp protection, and often doesn't pay legal wages...???

(H/T Jennifer A.)