NICE Community Job Center
NICE's Community Job Center serves as an alternative to the 69th Street day laborer stop (La Parada). To address and provide an alternative to the poor conditions and low wage standards of the jobs that La Parada offers, NICE, with the leadership of members, developed NICE’s Jobs Center. Day laborers and contractors can come together to negotiate safe and dignified labor conditions and payment at the Jobs Center. The participants in the Jobs Center set the wages for the center, engage in the promotion of the Center and set the base wages.
Workforce Development Training Program
NICE provides extensive access to health and safety trainings and certifications, such as the OSHA 10 in construction and general industry trainings and other workforce development opportunities. These trainings aim to improve workers’ skill set and marketability and to educate workers on how they can better protect themselves from risks and hazards in the workplace. These trainings improve workers’ earning potential and access to jobs. NICE members often do not have access to labor unions or long-term employers who generally provide these often life-saving trainings.
Wage Theft Clinic
Immigrant workers in New York City often work for bosses who underpay or refuse to pay their workers. In the most recent study of New York City day laborers, 60% of day laborers reported being underpaid by their employer and 49% reported not being paid at all. Yet, as many of our members report, many day laborers are unaware of their rights and protections under the New York State wage and hour laws, or may not know how to exercise them. Even the workers who know how to exercise their rights often do not demand the wages owed to them because they fear retaliation from their bosses. In response to the community need for legal advice in wage theft cases, NICE has set up a wage theft legal clinic. The clinic provides workers with free legal counsel on unpaid wages and other workplace programs. In about ¼ of the cases, attorneys represent workers in attempting to collect back wages. In the other cases, attorneys give advice and organizers will invite workers to our meetings to learn their rights and avoid wage theft in the future. In conjunction, NICE organizers hold workshops on topics such as Wage and Hour Law, How to File for Back Wages, Workplace Safety, Your Rights Before the Police and other topics. Through a combination of legal and direct actions (from writing demand letters to launching campaigns in support of cases that are taken to court) NICE has recovered over $110,000 in unpaid wages for over sixty workers.
Empowerment at Day Labor Stops ("Paradas")
NICE build the power of day laborers vis-à-vis contractors at day laborer stop across Queens, in particular the "69 Street Parada" - the largest in New York State and one of the largest in the nation. NICE member leaders are organizing fellow day laborers working in construction at La Parada, to set a salary floor based on specialization, that is just, dignified, and that fits within the standard of living in New York City. These efforts in addressing the low wage rate that day laborers accept are led by the La Parada Committee. The goal of the committee is to organize, at least 65% of workers at La Parada, and have the support to stand by a set wage standard. This means that once the wage standard is decided at least 65% of workers will not leave La Parada for less than this wage when approached by a contractor. This helps workers not only in achieving a fair wage, it also returns the bargaining power back to the workers, not the employer; to set the wage standard.