La­bor Cen­ter Opens in Gaithers­burg

The Washington Post Sunday - - Metro Week - Site Is In­tended to Re­place Curbside Gath­er­ings

Af­ter protests, counter-marches and threats of ar­rests, a day-la­bor cen­ter opened in Gaithers­burg with a few dozen Latino men and women qui­etly wait­ing for work.

Gaithers­burg of­fi­cials had strug­gled for three years to find an ac­cept­able lo­ca­tion for the cen­ter. This year, Mont­gomery County Ex­ec­u­tive Isiah Leggett (D) by­passed the city gov­ern­ment and pro­vided a chunk of county land off Shady Grove Road as a site.

Or­ga­niz­ers hope the site, near a bus stop, will re­place shop­ping cen­ters and park­ing lots as morn­ing gath­er­ing places.

“It’s much bet­ter here than out­side,” said Jose Men­dez, a 21-year-old from El Sal­vador who has been work­ing il­le­gally as a painter in the coun­try for more than four years. “This is a com­fort­able place. The 7-Eleven can be dan­ger­ous.”


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