2013 has been a powerful year at Workers Justice Project (WJP), where day laborers, domestic workers and immigrant construction workers are finding ways to fight for their rights.
Rosa Palaquibay is a female day laborer living and working in Brooklyn, NY. Like many women before her, she immigrated to New York City in search of better opportunities for her family. She has worked in low-wage jobs that did not paid enough to make ends meet, where the employers acted like tyrants, and the hours were inconvenient and unforgiving.
But 2013 was different. Ms. Palaquibay was treated with dignity and respect and earned a fair pay since she became a worker-owner of Apple Eco-Cleaning, a women-run, worker-owned, eco-friendly housecleaning cooperative. A stable job with good pay has enabled her to support her daughter’s dream to become a mechanical engineer. Her daughter will be the first in her family to go to college. This is a reality that brings her to tears because she never thought she would be able to do this.
Because WJP has helped build a worker cooperative, like Apple Eco-Cleaning, working mothers, like Rosa Palaquibay, can afford to support their families and have job security for the first time in their lives.
2013 was also different for working dads, like Filberto Altamirano, a 55-year-old day laborer and a single father who is helping Rockaway residents to rebuild their homes destroyed by Hurricane Sandy.
In 2013, WJP rebuilt the Bay Parkway Community Job Center, a worker center in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, in response to the exploitation of immigrant workers in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
As result, we have raised annual wages of working fathers, like Filiberto Altamirano, from $20,000 to $46,800, trained over 500 immigrant construction workers on OSHA 10-Hour Residential Construction, and 4-Hour User Supported Scaffold Safety and ensured access to the most basic personal protective equipment – such as gloves, masks, helmets, jackets and earplugs – to help protect workers from hazardous conditions and dangerous chemicals.
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