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Teamsters: Temp work won't get America back on track

(Source: International Brotherhood of Teamsters press release, April 21, 2014)

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Post-Great Recession America may not be a place of double-digit unemployment. But the number of jobs where workers can earn an honest living that supports a family with the basics has shrunk substantially. And much of that is due to big business hiring tricks that have created an underclass of temporary employees.

Increasingly, corporate America is filling its coffers by contracting with staffing agencies that bring in workers that do the same jobs as their permanent colleagues, but for a fraction of the cost. Not only do they make only a portion of the salary, they also toil without access to vacation and sick days or retirement benefits. They face termination for missing work, even if they have spent years on the job. These workers have no recourse to challenge such job actions.

The plight of these hard-working Americans who many times work extended hours without a choice is only getting worse. Currently, 2.8 million workers are employed as temps, a new U.S. record. And the effect can be devastating on both them and their families.

Economically, many working as temps are struggling mightily. Even though companies such as Nissan are doing booming business and could afford to expand their full-time workforce, they instead go on the cheap by hiring a shadow staff of employees through a staffing agency that gives them the ability to quickly hire and fire as they see fit. Localities that house such companies tout their low unemployment rates and pat themselves on the back for it, but those toiling in such jobs canít make ends meet.

But the pain for others goes even deeper. Some temporary workers are not getting the proper training at their manufacturing-based jobs and are paying with their lives. In the quest to add more and more cash to the bottom line and for consumers to get cheaper and cheaper products, corporations are putting people at risk. Worker safety is being sacrificed for shareholders.

This is no way for a healthy economy to be behaving. And thatís just it Ė itís not. The playing field is slanted towards big business and away from regular workers who just want to be able to provide a decent life for their loved ones. Bad trade deals and corporate handouts are to thank for that.

Corporations need to invest in the communities where they reside. Fair employment opportunities will create a greater amount of people who will be able to consume their products. It will also create a happier and more stable workforce. Thatís a win-win proposition that should please everyone.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

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