Posts Tagged ‘Obreros Unidos De Yonkers’

Little Jocelyn Farms for Food & Freedom

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

jocelynBy Alice Kenny

As a light breeze brushes freshly tilled soil, Jocelyn, 5, picks up a hammer to help her dad build a family garden.

It’s a magical moment for her family, a time when Jocelyn, her mom, dad, and big brother Steven, 7, think about working the soil and enjoying the sun, about picking tomatoes, peppers and beans.  Best of all, it’s a time when they don’t think about growling bellies or the daily search for work.

Jocelyn’s father belongs to Obreros Unidos de Yonkers, a group of approximately 300 day laborers in the Yonkers area served by Catholic Charities.  Here they learn about employment rights to prevent their exploitation and abuse, receive assistance collecting unpaid wages, get help accessing healthcare services, participate in English and computer skills classes and receive emergency food to supplement their gardens’ bounty.

Most importantly, Catholic Charities helps Jocelyn and families like hers become independent.  The community garden on Oak Street in Yonkers where Jocelyn helps her family is one of two community gardens maintained by and for day laborers.

The land, donated by the Greyston Foundation, an integrated network of programs that help families move toward self-sufficiency, had been littered with plastic bags and rotting garbage.  The laborers tossed out the garbage, built a fence to keep out future litter and are hammering together 22 boxes so that Obreros Unidos de Yonkers  families can  reap the harvest from  their own plots of land.

This community garden is one of two maintained by Obreros Unidos. The second, tilled right in front of the Catholic Charities offices on Hawthorne Avenue in Yonkers represents a joint effort between Catholic Charities Community Services, the Greyston Foundation, YMCA of Yonkers and Habitat for Humanity of Westchester.

“The gardens enable families, many who worked as farmers in the South and Central American nations where they were born, to share this tradition with their children while teaching them the importance of hard work and community,” says Catholic Charities Day Laborer Organizer Janet Hernández.

Many Have Forgotten Sandy Survivors’ Struggles; Day Laborers Remember and Volunteer

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

By Alice Kenny

The truckloads of volunteers that once filled Staten Island streets after Hurricane Sandy struck have dwindled to a halt. But while memories of Hurricane Sandy’s devastation have faded for many, the reality remains stark for Staten Island homeowners still struggling to rebuild.

Fortunately, day laborers have not forgotten.

Better known for their predawn gatherings on street corners as they seek work in gardening and construction, these men and women without legal documentation continue to make the nearly five-hour round trip commute from Yonkers to Staten Island to provide for free their skills and expertise. They tear out five-feet-tall weeds suffocating once-green lawns, repair boilers and strip out mold-laden walls.

Last week, men from Obreros Unidos de Yonkers, a group of day laborers in the Yonkers area served by Catholic Charities, accompanied Catholic Charities staff to install sheetrock for a homeowner in Staten Island’s Midland Beach.

Catholic Charities has an ongoing involvement with Obreros Unidos De Yonkers, a group of approximately 300 day laborers in the Yonkers area. Through this program, Catholic Charities educates workers on employment rights and responsibilities in order to prevent exploitation and abuse. Catholic Charities also assists in the collection of unpaid wages, helps workers get access to healthcare services, provides emergency food, and offers English language and computer skills instruction.

Please join us in helping Sandy survivors rebuild.

Volunteers are needed to work with us on Columbus Day to replace damaged chain link fencing at a homeowner’s yard in the Midland Beach section of Staten Island. We also need folks to help us bundle up the damaged fence and stretch and hang a new one.

All tools and equipment will be provided as well as transportation from Manhattan to the site in Staten Island and back. All we ask is that you bring some muscle and your lunch.

Click here for details.

Hungry for Immigration Reform? Join Our fast.

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

By Alice Kenny

Catholic Charities Executive Director Msgr. Kevin Sullivan said the opening prayer yesterday at the United Community Center of Westchester in New Rochelle at a rolling fast held by day laborers, members of the immigrant community, and organizations within the National Day Laborer Organizing Network.

The fast kicked off in California and just reached New York.

Participants’ communal hunger spotlights the immigration debate. Members of Catholic Charities’ Obreros Unidos in Yonkers — along with United Community Center of Westchester in New Rochelle and the Don Bosco Center in Port Chester  — are taking their turn in a week-long fast from June 10 through June 14.  They are publicly sharing their stories about the toll deportations take on their own lives.  And they are chanting “Not One More” to demand that the President suspend the deportations as Congress seeks immigration reform.

Through Obreros Unidos, Catholic Charities educates day laborers in the Yonkers area on employment rights and responsibilities to prevent exploitation and abuse. Catholic Charities also assists in the collection of unpaid wages, helps workers get access to healthcare services, provides emergency food, and offers English language and computer skills instruction.

“I am fasting on behalf of the 300 day laborers of Obreros Unidos de Yonkers and their families, many of whom have personal experiences of family separation because of deportation” said Janet Hernandez, one of the fasters and an organizer with Catholic Charities for Obreros Unidos de Yonkers.

Join us by saying “Not one more” to deportation.

Looking for more information about Obreros Unidos de Yonkers?

  •  Call (914) 375-6729/48 or visit the office at St. Peter’s Church basement, 91 Ludlow Street, Yonkers, NY  10705
  •   Call the Catholic Charities Help Line — (888) 744-7900 — to find services you need.

Battling for Bishops and Pawns, Day Laborers Face Off with Friars at Family Day Celebration

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

By Alice Kenny

Day laborers’ children battled to capture bishops, kings and pawns at chess competitions held with Franciscan Friars at a family day celebration on May 19th.  For the first time ever, St. Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers opened its doors to Obreros Unidos and their families on Pentecost Sunday.  City of Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano joined in the festivities.

The Catholic Charities-sponsored Family Day brought together more than 150 local day-laborer family members with seminarians, friars and Catholic Charities staff.  It was part of Catholic Charities’ ongoing involvement with Obreros Unidos De Yonkers, a group of approximately 300 day laborers in the Yonkers area.

Through this program, Catholic Charities educates workers on employment rights and responsibilities to prevent exploitation and abuse. Catholic Charities also assists in the collection of unpaid wages, helps workers get access to healthcare services, provides emergency food, and offers English language and computer skills instruction.

The midday event began with Pentecost Sunday mass to celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit.  Next, at an indoor picnic pulled together in response to the pouring rain outdoors, participants feasted on tacos, churros and flan.  Then they partied together as they faced off at chess matches, danced in Zumba exercise classes, painted faces and dabbled with arts and crafts.

Check out our Facebook page for more photos of the event.

Would you like to join Obreros Unidos de Yonkers?

Call (914) 375-6729/48 or visit the office at St. Peter’s Church basement, 91 Ludlow Street, Yonkers, NY  10705

Call the Catholic Charities Help Line — (888) 744-7900 — to find services you need.

Mothers Day Makeover

Friday, May 10th, 2013

By Alice Kenny

Accustomed to hard work, scant funds and dreams only of their children’s futures, 15 wives and relatives of day laborers instead received free haircuts, makeovers and all-round pampering on Wednesday, May 8, 2013 in the St. Peter’s Parish gym in Yonkers, in preparation for Mothers Day.

The women belong to a mothers group associated with Obreros Unidos De Yonkers, a group of approximately 300 day laborers in the Yonkers area.

The women received haircuts free of charge provided by two hairstylist/salon owners who are also parishioners of St. Peter’s Parish.  They also received a make-up lesson and application by a Mary Kay representative.  And two of the recipient moms, far more accustomed to giving than receiving, opted to donate their cut hair to Locks of Love, a public non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children suffering from medical hair loss.

The Mothers Day celebration was part of Catholic Charities’ ongoing involvement with Obreros Unidos De Yonkers, a group of approximately 300 day laborers in the Yonkers area. Through this program, Catholic Charities educates workers on employment rights and responsibilities in order to prevent exploitation and abuse. Catholic Charities also assists in the collection of unpaid wages, helps workers get access to healthcare services, provides emergency food, and offers English language and computer skills instruction.

Looking for more information about Obreros Unidos de Yonkers?

Call (914) 375-6729/48 or visit the office at St. Peter’s Church basement, 91 Ludlow Street, Yonkers, NY  10705

Call the Catholic Charities Help Line — (888) 744-7900 — for help finding services you need.

Wishing you a wonderful Mothers Day!

 

Day Laborers Clean Aqueduct Trail

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

By Alice Kenny

The day laborer group, Obreros Unidos De Yonkers, joined a small army of volunteers to clean a neglected section of the Old Croton Aqueduct State Historic Park Trail on Sunday.

Together, more than 200 volunteers picked up trash along a neglected section of the Old Croton Aqueduct State Historic Park Trail that runs through the Lenoir Nature Preserve in Yonkers.

Catholic Charities has an ongoing involvement with Obreros Unidos De Yonkers, a group of approximately 300 day laborers in the Yonkers area. Through this program, Catholic Charities educates workers on employment rights and responsibilities to prevent exploitation and abuse. Catholic Charities also assists in the collection of unpaid wages, helps workers get access to healthcare services, provides emergency food, and offers English language and computer skills instruction.

Looking for more information about Obreros Unidos de Yonkers?

  • Call (914) 375-6729/48 or visit the office at St. Peter’s Church basement, 91 Ludlow Street, Yonkers, NY  10705
  •  Call the Catholic Charities Help Line — (888) 744-7900 — for help finding services you need.

 

Massive Mobilization on Immigration Reform; The Time for Change Is Now

Friday, April 12th, 2013

By Alice Kenny

Waving signs and chanting slogans, thousands of New Yorkers added their voices Wednesday to a massive national mobilization for immigration reform.  They included Oberos Unidos de Yonkers, day laborers assisted by Catholic Charities, who rallied in White Plains.  Residents also took part in candlelight vigils in Rockland and Putnam Counties, marched in Newburgh and joined busloads that wound their way from New York City and the Hudson Valley to Washington, D.C.  Together they united with tens of thousands of people who met on the Capital lawn to insist that the time for change is now.

“Catholic Charities is both proud and privileged to work with newcomers who contribute to the growth and well-being of this country, the one they call home,” Catholic Charities Executive Monsignor Sullivan said yesterday.  “We join immigrants and advocates who will make this case in Washington D.C. and in other parts of the country at a massive mobilization and faith community vigil for citizenship, and fair and humane legal immigration opportunities.”

Wednesday’s outdoor rallies took place as a bipartisan group of senators worked inside the Capital. Known as the “Gang of Eight,” they are negotiating a bill aimed at securing the border, tapping foreign workers for critically needed jobs and creating a path to citizenship.

Catholic Charities helps immigrants reunite legally with their families, obtain proper work authorization, learn English and civics, and prepare to pass citizenship exams. Catholic Charities also assists immigrants in avoiding exploitation by unscrupulous practitioners by providing correct information and realistic counsel about immigration status.

For example, Catholic Charities works with Obreros Unidos de Yonkers, a group of more than 300 day laborers in Yonkers.  Together, we educate workers regarding employment rights and responsibilities to prevent exploitation and workplace abuse.  We also assist in integrating workers into society and provide local resources to assist them in this process.

We do this by:

  • Hosting workshops and trainings on worker rights, safety in the workplace, basics of immigration and other topics as needed
  •   Issuing membership cards with identifying information
  •  Providing office and meeting space and administrative support for workers
  •  Assisting in the collection of unpaid wages, access to healthcare services, emergency food, English as a Second Language programs and computer classes.
  • Facilitating conversations with local business owners, police elected officials and the community.

 

Looking for more information about Obreros Unidos de Yonkers?

Call (914) 375-6729/48 for more information on or visit the office at St. Peter’s Church basement, 91 Ludlow Street, Yonkers, NY  10705.

Call the Catholic Charities Help Line  — (888) 744-7900 — for more help finding the services you need.

Day Laborers Celebrate Their Heritage With Three Kings Party

Monday, January 7th, 2013


 

By Alice Kenny

On Saturday, January 5th, Obreros Unidos de Yonkers held their annual Three Kings Party to celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany. Timothy Cardinal Dolan joined over 300 members and their families for an Epiphany Vigil Mass at St. Peter’s Church and a celebration afterward.

The Feast of the Epiphany, also known as Three Kings Day, is widely celebrated in the Hispanic community with parties, gifts and a special pastry called rosca de reyes (kings’ ring). Catholic Charities staff and volunteers, including the Sisters of Charity, helped at Saturday’s party by serving dinner, distributing toys to children and giving gifts to the registered workers.

Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, Executive Director of Catholic Charities, Janet Hernandez, the community organizer who staffs the Obreros Unidos program and Father Lino Otero, the pastor of St. Peter’s parish, all participated in the celebration, along with Yonkers Mayor Michael Spano.

“This is a great opportunity to celebrate the contribution that immigrants are making,” said Monsignor Kevin Sullivan. “Their faith, industriousness and commitment to family are values that inspire us all. Catholic Charities is both proud and privileged to be part of this community and provide needed help that creates a future of hope for these workers and their families.”

Obreros Unidos (Workers United) is a group of approximately 300 day laborers in the Yonkers area that works with Catholic Charities on projects throughout the year. For example, after Sandy hit, Obreros Unidos members volunteered to remove crumbling sheet rock and pull out ruined furniture from Staten Island houses destroyed by the storm. Catholic Charities also provides multiple services for the group, including educating workers on employment rights and responsibilities in order to prevent exploitation and abuse.

Day Laborers help Hurricane Sandy Victims

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

By Alice Kenny

Fifteen volunteers from Obreros Unidos De Yonkers, a group of day laborers in the Yonkers area served by Catholic Charities, accompanied Catholic Charities staff on Sunday, November 18, to help people in the New Dorp neighborhood in a Staten Island whose homes were destroyed by Hurricane Sandy.  Donning work gloves and masks they responded to requests, moving from house to house to break down walls, remove crumbling sheet rock and pull out destroyed furniture.

Catholic Charities has an ongoing involvement with Obreros Unidos De Yonkers, a group of approximately 300 day laborers in the Yonkers area. Through this program, Catholic Charities educates workers on employment rights and responsibilities in order to prevent exploitation and abuse. Catholic Charities also assists in the collection of unpaid wages, helps workers get access to healthcare services, provides emergency food, and offers English language and computer skills instruction.