Body shop owner: Day laborers hurt business

STAMFORD - The owner of a Stamford auto body shop says day laborers who gather near his business are driving away customers, and with the recession, he believes the problem will worsen.

Jose Rodriquez says times are tough for him and other day laborers who gather under the I-95 overpass across from East Coast Autobody, at 20 LaFayette St.

?All that we needed is just to get a job, you know, that's all that we needed,? Rodriquez says.

?We can?t put up with it no more. Something?s gotta be done,? says body shop owner Joe Romaniello. He claims laborers like Rodriquez spread out from the nearby designated pickup area and swarm customers in search of work, scaring them off.

Stamford officials say the city doesn?t have the power to stop day laborers from peacefully assembling. All they can do, as a safety measure, is encourage the laborers to stay within the designated pickup area, away from traffic.

As the weather improves, Romaniello expects things only to get worse but hopes city officials will do more to keep day laborers within the pickup area.

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