This week marks the one-year anniversary of Herndon’s controversial day-labor center. The work site has been a success in nearly every respect, according to the Center’s annual report:
nearly 6,000 employers hired immigrant laborers for more than 10,000 jobs during the first year of the Herndon Official Workers’ Center, a publicly funded site launched in December 2005. An average of more than 100 workers signed in each day at the outdoor center in 2006, and hiring rates fluctuated between 13 percent and 43 percent, the report said, which is comparable to the rates at previous informal sites in town streets and parking lots. The day laborers studied English while waiting for work and volunteered in their off-hours, helping at a town festival and cleaning a school soccer field…
The center still has detractors, and last month the Herndon Town Council voted to solicit proposals from employment firms that want to run the hiring site and will require workers to present documentation to prove they are in the United States legally and eligible to work. The Town Council hoped to award a contract to a new operator by March, 2007, but no proposals to run the center had been submitted by the Feb. 9 deadline.
Perhaps the firms that Herndon’s Town Council asked to submit are aware of something that Herndon’s elected officials are not: the center is running well and meeting the needs of the community.