The Malibu Community Labor Exchange (MCLE), a community-based nonprofit 501(c)3 charity, was created to establish a day worker hiring center as a convenient, organized, and humane alternative to day workers gathering on public street corners. The Labor Exchange finally became reality in August of 1993.
The first hiring site at Zuma Beach had a fiesta opening on May 5, 1990. The Zuma site was the brainchild of Connie Fox, former nun and advocate for day laborers and local homeless. She and Honey Coatsworth, founder of the Artifac Tree, a charity thrift shop, created the Coalition for Homeless and Dayworkers (CHAD). Each contributed generously in time and money toward opening the site. Other community organizers included: L.A. County Sheriff’s Captain Don Mauro, Zev Yaroslavsky’s office, and celebrity Martin Sheen. CHAD was able to obtain permission to set up a small office trailer on County-owned property near the Zuma Beach parking lot. They opened with great hopes, a lunch program, English classes, and dedicated volunteers.
However, the Zuma site was closed in less than a year because it was located in proximity to residential areas whose owners filed a complaint that the center violated zoning restrictions. The closure of the site in early 1991 was a bitter disappointment to CHAD organizers.
The legacy of the Zuma Hiring Site was that in late 1991, a unanimous Malibu city council voted to sanction a new site at a new location. They encouraged the formation of a volunteer Board of Directors made up of community and religious leaders and city council appointees. The first officers were: Rev. Larry Peacock, President, Mona Loo, Vice-President, Lieutenant Mike Moore, Secretary, and Dan Wallace, Treasurer.
The Malibu Community Labor Exchange opened its doors and hosted its first work lottery on August 31, 1993. Today, the City of Malibu continues to contract with the MCLE to run the site at a trailer office on L.A. County property near the Malibu Civic Center and County Courthouses.
In 2010, the Labor Exchange celebrated its 20th Anniversary. Having registered over 5000 workers and helped facilitate thousands of day jobs at no cost to the workers or the hirers, Malibu’s Labor Exchange is one of the oldest such hiring sites for day laborers serving all races and backgrounds in the state.