HOUSTON — With Harvey’s recovery underway, day labourers are in high demand — many of them immigrants and many in the country illegally.
Construction workers were scarce even before Harvey struck. The Associated General Contractors of America says a survey of its members showed 58 per cent struggled to fill carpentry jobs and 53 per cent were having trouble finding electricians and bricklayers. Texas’ shortages were more acute.
Employers are generally small, unregulated contractors or individual homeowners. That results in a lack of oversight, creating the potential for workers to be unpaid or to work in dangerous conditions, as happened in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Houston’s day labourers are generally settling for $120 to $150 a day to clear homes of soggy carpeting, ruined sofas to the curb and mould-infested drywall.