Restoring Accountability in Temp Work

The shift towards temp work is creating an economy in which working people who move and produce products for some of our nation’s largest and most profitable corporations are treated like any other input, to be acquired at the cheapest cost.

In fact, “temp work” is becoming a misnomer—with many workers in “temporary jobs” for months or years, doing the same work as their direct-hire counterparts, but for lower pay, few benefits, and no job security.

Staffing agencies frequently require their clients to pay steep fees that shut workers out of long-term direct employment. When staffing workers lose their jobs, arcane rules keep many from receiving the benefits to which other unemployed workers are entitled.

The temp and staffing industry has shifted from largely clerical to jobs in transportation, material moving and production – a whopping 42% of the industry. These dangerous jobs are becoming even more hazardous as safety training is ignored by agency, host company, or both.

Temping Out the Federal Government

Since taking office, President Donald Trump has waged a war on federal workers.

The record-long government shutdown, which left hundreds of thousands of workers without pay, was the highest-profile attack on federal workers, but it is just one in a long line of examples. In May 2018, he attempted to roll back civil service protections and chip away at the rights of unions that represent federal workers through a series of executive orders.

Read our report that reveals how outsourcing of federal jobs has hurt taxpayers and reduced job quality.

Read More

Organizing to Improve Conditions for Temporary Help Agency Workers

Dozens of countries across six continents have passed policies regulating temporary agency work.

Policies include wage and benefit parity standards, bans on temporary work in dangerous industries like construction, bans on temporary workers performing certain high-safety-risk tasks, restrictions on when companies can hire temporary workers (e.g., standing in for absent workers), and caps on the share of the workforce that can be temporary and the duration for which a job can be deemed temporary.

Here in the United States, in the face of federal inaction, states and localities are leading the charge to increase protections for nonstandard workers and raise standards for temporary help agency workers:

Illinois implemented groundbreaking legislation regulating temporary help agencies on June 1, 2018. The Responsible Job Creation Act represents the most ambitious attempt to date by any state to regulate the growing temporary help agency industry. It fills critical enforcement loopholes, addressing workplace safety issues, hiring discrimination, wage theft, and “perma-temping” in the temporary help industry.

In New Jersey, New Labor has been working to raise standards for temporary help agency workers, many of whom work in the state’s numerous warehousing and distribution facilities.

Read More

Bureau of Labor Statistics: Black and Latino Workers Over-Represented in Temporary Help Agency Work

New data released in May 2018 found “nonstandard” workers typically are paid less and receive fewer benefits than their counterparts in “standard” jobs.

Results from the 2017 Contingent Worker Supplement (CWS) to the Current Population Survey reveal that 1 in 10 U.S. workers (15.5 million) finds her primary job in a “nonstandard”—i.e., subcontracted, temporary, on-call, contract company, on-demand, or freelance—work arrangement.

Survey results show a shift in the occupational distribution—toward more dangerous occupations—within certain nonstandard arrangements, since 2005. Wage and benefit penalties, overrepresentation of people of color and women, and preference for a different work arrangement are particularly striking for temporary help agency workers.

Read more

Read More

Restoring Accountability in Temp Worker Safety

More and more, major American companies hire so-called temps for extended periods of time, sometimes alongside workers they hire directly, performing identical work. This type of outsourcing has become a permanent feature of many business models.

Watch this trailer to learn about how the temporary staffing industry is putting workers like 21 year-old Day Davis at risk.

A Day’s Work from We Are The Workers on Vimeo.

Read More
Back to Top of Page