News in some circles

In the local independent Spanish-language press, there’ve been stories and follow-ups for some time now on efforts to discourage day-laborers from trying to catch work from contractors in the parking lot of the Home Depot at St. John’s. Today’s NYT carries a front-page feature on this practice, which occurs at various home-improvement stores nationally. The dateline is Austin (“Front Line in Day Laborer Battle Runs Right Outside Home Depot”).

Since the closing of the late, lamented Twin Oaks Hardware, sometimes a visit to Home-D is required. Yesterday was one of those days, the one in near South Austin, close to IH-35. On the contractor side of the store, all the business was being conducted in Spanish. The aisles have signs in Spanish these days, although in smaller type than the English ones. The restroom doors carried hand-lettered signs in Spanish, in addition to the permanent English-language signage. Even though this is not all that far from a bus-stop, we’ve never seen people soliciting day-work at this location.

It wasn’t until there had been many, many stories in the local independent Spanish-language press that the local daily wrote about contractor non-payment of day-workers. Finally, the local daily’s Spanish tabloid carried an article and then the daily itself. Maybe the local daily has written about this and I’ve overlooked it. It just seems that often a Texas or an Austin story is national news before it’s local.

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