Doing battle with cheap labor

Longtime workers often find themselves forced out of the market

Robert Boyd isn’t tarring roofs like he used to. The 62-year-old expatriate from Liverpool, England, says he’s waging a losing battle with illegal day laborers.

The Upland man, who’s run his own business for 22 years, has been fixing leaky roofs since before he came to the United States. From the day he turned 16, and ever since completing a five-year apprenticeship in his trade, he’s dedicated his life to construction.

“I know what I’m doing and I do good work because I’ve been trained to do it,” Boyd said from his seat at the Black Watch Pub in Upland, where he was watching a soccer match on television one recent day.

“They are paying these guys $12 a square to roof … and then when they mess up the job, I get called in to fix up their mess,” he said.

Research released late last year by the Center for Immigration Studies reveals that unemployment among native-born workers grew by 2.3 million, while employment among immigrant workers increased about the same amount. Read the article here.