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Strategies to Combat Wage Theft for Day Laborers in Denver, CO

Latin America Center

This mixed-methods study examines the labor experiences of Latino day laborers in the Denver and Aurora metro area. 62% of day laborers have experienced wage theft, but fewer than 40% ask for assistance. 

The research draws on qualitative interviews with 170 workers and 410 surveys of workers; interviews with attorneys, non-profits, employers, and politicians; and direct action work with a volunteer group assisting workers pursue their unpaid wages. It has also included collaboration with the Colorado Wage Theft Task Force, the day labor center El Centro Humanitario, and the City of Denver to conduct worker outreach, inform legislation, and improve enforcement of laws around wage theft. The project also collaborates with the Sturm College of Law to connect workers to pro bono legal representation. More than 50 DU students have worked on this project as co-researchers, direct action volunteers who help workers recoup unpaid wages, and as outreach volunteers alongside El Centro Humanitario informing workers of their rights and connecting them to legal assistance.