Stephen Franklin

Stephen Franklin is a former labor writer for the Chicago Tribune and author of Three Strikes: Labor's Heartland Losses and What They Mean for Working Americans (2001).

Recent Articles

Forgotten Corners of the Economy

As unemployment rises, the illegal treatment of day laborers only worsens. Where's the government?

Another dead day on the street corner and Gonzalo Mejia is wondering how he will get by. He's been finding work just one or two days a week lately. Worse yet, a contractor recently stiffed him out of $400 worth of pay. "All the time there is less work," grumbles Mejia, a short, muscular man in his mid-50s. His pals nod in agreement as they wait like hawks, ready to swoop down on the next contractor who pulls up. But it's well past 9 A.M., only three cars have trolled by in search of workers, and hardly anyone has budged off the street. Yet it is not just the disappearance of work that troubles him and the 150 or so men killing time at Milwaukee and Belmont, once Chicago's busiest street corner for day laborers. Everything has become so difficult, so frustrating, so dangerous. For workers with minimal protections against employers who steal from their wages or sometimes leave them dead or maimed, life has lately become bare existence. Before the housing bubble burst and the economy...

Pages