September 11 Digital Archive: XML Document
Title:Weve been threatened: The Workplace Project in Hempstead advocates on behalf of Latino day laborers
Body:Angry because we support the workers claims to be paid, the contractors have gone to the extremes of threatening us with bats and guns, said Nadia Marin-Molina, director of the Workplace Project, located in Hempstead, Long Island.
Every Wednesday evening, the Projects Day Laborers Coordinator Carlos Canales meets with workers who visit the Project saying they are tired of personally collecting their money from their bosses, who made them work long shifts and without paying them.
Rafael Cornejo, Freddy Arreaga and Giovanni Arevalos are some of those workers. Last Wednesday, they filled out forms with which Project staff use to call and send collection letters to the debtor contractors.
If the phone calls do not work, and they do not respond to the letters that we send them, we will begin a more direct plan of action, Canales said. We post flyers with their names and telephone numbers in their churches and other places they may frequent, so that people will call them.
Sometimes these kinds of pressure tactics work, Canales said. Contractors negotiate their debts with the Project, promising to pay the total amount, usually in a couple of payments, and by showing good faith in fulfilling their obligations.
Other contractors pretend not to know what is going on, and then we must protest in front of their homes to make them feel ashamed, he added.
Many times, we have been threatened with bats and guns, but fortunately the police protected us and arrested the aggressors, said Marin-Molina, showing pictures of the violent contractors in handcuffs.