Day laborers in Chicago

Be honest now. How many undocumented immigrants are on your payroll right this second? Last season? The last couple of years? If you're like many contractors you hire people who can do the work and don't pay much attention to their documentation...or you look the other way even if you know. And if you're short manpower on a crew -- for a day, a week, or even more -- how have you handled that in the past? Many contractors turn to the pool of day laborers available in most markets of a decent size. These folks aren't skilled pros, they're warm bodies willing to put in a day of work, trading their unskilled labor for wages. Not the best situation for either party, certainly, but almost an essential part of the construction industry's labor pool ... Unless you work in Chicago. An article in the Chicago Tribune reports day laborers are suing the city for harassment, despite the fact contractors utilize these folks every day. A touchy issue to be sure, especially with current concerns over immigration. But many paving and pavement maintenance contractors would have a tough time filling out crews were it not for some of these folks.

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