OLA: Statement to Southampton Village Board

[OLA’s statement to Village Board at Sept. 14 meeting re formal hiring site]
OLA of Eastern Long Island, the Organización Latino Americana, is proud to belong to the Coalition for a Worklink Center and to support a formal hiring site for day laborers in the Village of Southampton. Across America, as well as right here in Southampton, immigrant workers from all over the world are enriching our culture, contributing to our economy, and providing an invaluable supply of labor. OLA believes that our community’s response should be to welcome immigrant workers and recognize their contributions to the United States, the home we all share and cherish.

OLA also believes that our community’s response to the situation in front of the 7-11 should be one that is rooted in pragmatism and ethics, not one that stems from intolerance and bigotry. The local community has created the demand for day laborers and therefore the local community has a responsibility to address the current situation with compassion as well as with a concern for the common good.

A formal hiring site on the Aldrich Lane property or elsewhere in the Village would accomplish these goals. It would offer shelter and facilities to both workers and contractors and allow them to conduct business in a humane, well organized, and out-of-the-way environment.

Communities across the country are successfully establishing formal hiring sites with none of the adverse consequences they are demonized for, wisely recognizing that such centers not only address the situation at hand but also help integrate day laborers into mainstream American society through English classes, help with documentation and taxes, and setting good examples of what being an American truly is.

OLA urges the Village to act wisely and proactively and set a precedent for the East End of Suffolk County by voting in favor of the most practical, effective, and compassionate option—the establishment a formal hiring site.