The people here are not day laborers looking for an odd job from a passing contractor. They load the trucks and stock the shelves for some of the U.S.’s largest companies—Walmart, Nike, PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay division—but they are not paid by them; instead they work for temp agencies. On June 7, the Labor Department reported that the nation had more temp workers than ever before: 2.7 million. Almost one-fifth of the total job growth since the recession has been in the temp sector. One list of the biggest U.S. employers placed Kelly Services second only to Walmart.
Outsourcing to temp agencies has cut deep into the U.S. job market: 1 in 5 manual laborers who move and pack merchandise is now a temp, as is 1 in 6 team assemblers, who often work at auto plants. This system insulates companies from workers’-compensation claims, unemployment taxes, union drives and the duty to ensure that their workers are legal immigrants. Meanwhile, the temps suffer high injury rates, and many of them endure hours of unpaid waiting and face fees that depress their pay below the minimum wage.
charlie don't surf: “What the hell happened to this world? My managers have no respect for people's lives, and they were probably taught to be this way by people above them who have no respect for other people's lives.”
ob1quixote: “For whatever reason this reminds me of the Michael Moore documentary The Big One.”
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