A ProPublica analysis of millions of workers’ compensation claims shows that in five states, representing more than a fifth of the U.S. population, temps face a significantly greater risk of getting injured on the job than permanent employees.Companies fail to provide basic training or safety equipment for temps, even when they're working around dangerous equipment; injured temps don't receive care or are fired. And, as Sarah Jaffe reports this week, temp doesn't really mean temporary anymore, even in what used to be considered good manufacturing jobs:
In California and Florida, two of the largest states, temps had about 50 percent greater risk of being injured on the job than non-temps. That risk was 36 percent higher in Massachusetts, 66 percent in Oregon and 72 percent in Minnesota.
As an “associate” (the firm’s preferred term for temp), [Betty McCray] works alongside permanent Nissan employees, but she is treated differently. She says she is paid less, gets no personal days and has to bring a doctor’s note if she is sick. Her job feels precarious, like she could be let go at any time.Manufacturers increasingly use temps even for skilled labor, and often pay low wages. Skilled manufacturing jobs done by temps at $10 an hour? That's what you call clear evidence of the race to the bottom.
The path to becoming an “employee,” that elusive goal, is far from clear. Tracy Logan, 34, worked through Yates on Nissan’s assembly line for a year before winning a promotion to a position as a robot tender, overseeing the robots that spray paint on the car parts. To his surprise, he remained a temp. “When I first arrived at Nissan, that position was considered Class A—only Nissan personnel can hold that position,” he says. “I put in for it, thinking that would be a way of getting on with Nissan. Somewhere in there, they changed the classification of the job, but didn’t let us know.”
Continue reading below the fold for more of the week's labor and education news.
- Los Angeles teachers have a vision, and some of them are fighting to reshape their union around it.
- The "turnaround" is one of the corporate education movement's favored approaches to schools that have been deemed failing on the basis of poor test scores. What's a turnaround? It's when at least half the teachers in a school are fired. Because as we know, teachers are the bane of the education system, amiright?
Right now, the high school in New Bedford, Massachusetts, is in turnaround. You might think Massachusetts would be looking to follow the model of schools in the state that have dramatically improved test scores without firing their teachers, like Brockton High School and the Charlotte M. Murkland Elementary School. But instead, Brockton and Murkland are overlooked by state officials, who prefer to tout the wonders of firing people, so firing it is for the teachers of New Bedford:
Shortly before Christmas, the superintendent of New Bedford Schools, Pia Durkin, announced that New Bedford High School would be put on a ‘turnaround’ plan. This plan gives all teachers a pink slip, requires that all teachers re-apply for their jobs, and has a fixed-in-advance rule that not more than 50% of current teachers will be rehired. [...]Chicago, by the way, has experienced a phenomenon similar to Massachusetts: Quite a few low-income neighborhood schools are outperforming turnaround schools even without the extra funding the turnaround schools get—yet city officials aren't publicizing those successes, let alone looking to them as models. Because the corporate reform priority is less on improvement than on consolidating power at the top and weakening teachers.
While corporate ‘reformers’ are demanding that we attend to the data of student test scores and ‘student growth percentiles,’ claiming their deep concern for children by threatening the people who have committed their lives to young people, there are whole swaths of data they ignore. These including, in the case of New Bedford, a 10.3 percent unemployment rate, 73 percent of students in New Bedford schools coming from low-income families, and 78 percent of the students in district labeled as high needs (compared to 47 percent statewide). While children enter school with unmet material needs and bearing the emotional and cognitive toll this exerts, teachers are under pressure to increase test scores. Not only are they supposed to focus on the test score, but they themselves are subject to the stress of working with severely reduced resources, including a $3 million reduction in school funding between 2011-2012 school year and the 2012-2013 school year.
Imagine your 5-year-old boy went to a school where he was occasionally thrown in a padded cell and detained alone for stretches as long as 20 minutes.
Or you sent your kid to an elementary school where the children are made to sit on a bare floor in the classroom for days before they can “earn” their desks.
Or your kid went to a school where she spent hours parked in a cubicle in front of a computer with a poorly trained teacher who has to monitor more than 100 other students.
- Shenanigans around fired school staff and canceled meetings at a Detroit charter school that unionized not long ago. Guess the board of Cesar Chavez Academy (yes, really) doesn't want to deal with little things like accountability.
- Fifteen months in virtual charter hell: A teacher's tale.
- The Atlanta test scandal is still being investigated and prosecuted. Yet there's been no such investigation into Washington, DC's test scandal.
- Chicago school rations bathroom visits to "maximize student learning and reduce the loss of instructional time." I guess if students are going to spend weeks out of the year taking standardized tests, you have to make up the time somewhere?
A fair day's wage
- Maryland's casino boom means a jobs jackpot for local unions.
- Well, that's healthy. According to a report, Louisiana regulators are getting two thirds of their campaign funds from industries they regulate.
- Illinois Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner really can't decide if he wants the minimum wage higher or lower. Shockingly enough, what he says seems to have something to do with who he's talking to ...
- Ugh. Will a no rights at work law once again rear its ugly head in Missouri?
- More efforts to roll back workplace protections in Wisconsin.
- Important New York Times editorial on outsourcing government work:
Currently, Washington spends about $500 billion a year on private-sector contracts, more than twice the amount in 2000.
It is hard to argue that Americans are getting their money’s worth.
The ostensible purpose of using private contractors is to get jobs done cheaper and better. But that aim is often unmet.
- Taylor teachers union wins round in dispute tied to Michigan's Right to Work law.
- Meet a few of the people who've lost their unemployment benefits.
- Some reasons to doubt that H&M will really start paying its factory workers fair wages.