Laborers who line up on the streets of Yonkers hoping to be hired for the day now have a place to call their own, thanks to Catholic Charities of New York.
The organization opened its Yonkers Day Laborer Center to support the often hidden community and help them learn the skills they need to thrive.
The center was almost a decade in the making of cutting through red tape and pandemic delays to get up and running.
“We want to make sure people don’t abuse our immigrants and that they get what they’re entitled to,” Cardinal Timothy Dolan said. “That’s what Catholic Charities is here for, they really come in the defense of workers.”
For Cardinal Dolan, it was fitting that the grand opening happened on the feast day of St. Joseph the Worker.
“So, God the Father thought so much of the dignity of human labor that when his only begotten son took on flesh and became one of us he wanted him raised in the home of a working man, a carpenter, St. Joseph. So, that’s why we love and embrace these people,” Cardinal Dolan said.
The facility will be a gathering place for day laborers, who are often undocumented migrants.
It will also provide legal counsel, English classes, nanny training, and even help workers obtain OSHA certifications.
Executive Director of Catholic Charities of New York, Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, said the facility
“My job is pretty simple,” Msgr. Sullivan said. “It’s too affirm that in the world we live in, Catholic Charities is one organization that doesn’t believe in division but coming together.”
The center will also educate workers on how to prevent labor abuse and wage theft from those who are looking to pay them less than what their work is worth.
The labor center will supply a community of politicians and advocates to back that up.
There are more than 10,000 day laborers in New York City and about 1,000 in Yonkers, according to the Day Laborer Workforce Initiative.