Practical insights from interviews with day laborers


The purpose of this exploratory, qualitative study was to identify key issues in the daily lives of day laborers and to ascertain the perceptions laborers had of day labor centers. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 25 day laborers at two established day labor centers in Houston, Texas. Grounded theory and opencoding qualitative methods were used to identify key themes. Three main themes emerged from the interviews. The first theme was that the day laborers' lives were filled with both practical difficulties due to lack of resources and emotional pain due to the separation from their families. The second theme was that day laborers frequently encountered injustice, in the form of lower pay or unfair treatment on the job, due to their illegal status. The third theme was that day laborers found day labor centers to be safe places where not only jobs but also other resources could be accessed to help ease the difficulties of their daily lives. This study provides social workers and other service providers with an improved understanding of the perceptions and needs of day laborers. Implications: Insights from this study indicate that day laborers benefit from services provided by stable day labor centers. © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

Publication Title

Journal of Ethnic and Cultural Diversity in Social Work