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Man bent over moving pile of boxes
Temp jobs are the future, and they're big business:
With 600 offices and a workforce of 400,000—more employees than Target or Home Depot—Labor Ready is the undisputed king of the blue-collar temp industry. Specializing in "tough-to-fill, high-turnover positions," the company dispatches people to dig ditches, demolish buildings, remove debris, stock giant fulfillment warehouses—jobs that take their toll on a body. And business is booming. Labor Ready's parent company, TrueBlue, saw its profits soar 55 percent last year, to $31 million, on $1.3 billion in sales. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that "employment services," which includes temporary labor, will remain among the fastest growing sectors through 2020.
Gabriel Thompson reports on his stint working for the giant temp chain at Mother Jones:
Back at the Labor Ready office, I have to wait nearly 30 minutes to receive my check. The job paid $8 an hour—minimum wage. For five hours of labor, I get $37.34 after taxes. I am not paid, however, for the four hours on call, or the time spent in transit to and from the job site, or waiting to get paid. None of this meets the legal definition of wage theft, but it sure feels like it.
A fair day's wage
  • Janitors in Houston's biggest buildings are often part-time workers making less than $9,000 a year. Believe it or not, that's an improvement they fought for and got after joining the SEIU in 2005. Now, they're on strike after the contractors they work for have refused to negotiate and unilaterally imposed changes to their expired contract. Janitors in New York, California, and Illinois could go out on strike in solidarity with the Houston strikers.
  • San Francisco court workers went on strike Monday, objecting to pay cuts and heavier work loads while, they say, administrators have millions in slush funds.
  • Workers who were suspended by the Tropicana casino in Atlantic City after engaging in civil disobedience on their own time are back at work.
  • Aww, poor Penny Pritzker. It's tough out there for a hotel heiress.
  • Are lunch breaks the new vision of utopia?

State and local legislation

  • The Indianapolis city council passed a "freedom to work" measure barring hotels from blacklisting workers who are work for contractors supplying the hotels with low-wage temporary labor. Workers say they've been told by hotels that they aren't eligible for better-paying, permanent jobs due to an agreement the hotels have made with contractors.


Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Tue Jul 17, 2012 at 09:15 AM PDT.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I was recently more-or-less fired (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Einsteinia, Tinfoil Hat, hnichols, llywrch

    from a grueling, soul-crushing part-time job for which I had to spend lots of unpaid time on-call, and for which the pay, by anyone's standards, was crummy.

    I'd needed the income, but I detested the work. After I was once-and-for-all let go :), I asked myself, searchingly, if I should have worked harder to hang onto this employment.

    The (for me) radical answer I came to was, No. For me to show the follow-up and attention to detail I need to show, to be a "good employee," well, I need to be paid adequately, or at least thrown a bone in terms of being given interesting work, or bearable work, or work with realistic advancement potential. Let me be clear: this job had none of that.

    The job market is horrible right now. If it weren't horrible, I probably wouldn't have stayed where I did for months. But I don't believe it's so bad, that I won't succeed fairly soon in lining up other part-time work, which meets my pretty basic-seeming requirements.

    The oligarchs depend on us little nobodies "giving our all" to our work, and expecting nothing in return. Well, numbers of us get a little "uppity," and start expecting things in return...

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Tue Jul 17, 2012 at 09:48:54 AM PDT

  •  The temp worker loophole must be closed (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    We could close it by requiring businesses to offer 1/2 benefits to every temp worker, and to permit only 1 part time worker for every job description.  

    In other words, no longer can you employ two temp workers instead of 1 employee.

    "Temp" can no longer mean exemption to business obligations for employees.

    Separation of Church and State AND Corporation

    by Einsteinia on Tue Jul 17, 2012 at 10:32:36 AM PDT

  •  True Blue, Inc (NYSE:TBI) (0+ / 0-)

    I took a quick look at their financial statements:

                               2011           2010          2009

    Sales                   $1.3B          $1.1B          $1.0B

    Net income        $31 mil        $20 mil         $9 million

    Net profit margin    2.4%        1.7%           .9%

    Compare that to companies like Google or Microsoft who have profit margins of 30%. The temp business looks like one where no one, the employee or the employer, make any money.

    "let's talk about that"

    by VClib on Tue Jul 17, 2012 at 11:34:55 AM PDT

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