It's not a pretty formula, but it works. 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.
Long before Chelsea Piers was a sporting complex and the South Street Seaport a mall, the city was lined with active piers. The city's residents were amply employed by the shipping trade, but containerization needed more land than would ever be available in the city: Massive ports sprouted in Elizabeth and Newark, and ships disappeared from the city. Efficient cranes replaced longshoremen, and the time in port for ships shrank from about a week to about a day.
"The technology changed the geography," says William Fensterer, a chaplain who has been with SIH almost since its new building opened in 1964. "It doesn't look like On the Waterfront anymore," he adds. When he started out, he says, he would wander on foot from pier to pier in Manhattan and Brooklyn and board ships, with nary a guard in site. But those piers have largely vanished.
And along with them, the seafarer, once ubiquitous in New York, has become invisible.
posted by jason's_planet
on Dec 18, 2009 -
In the boardrooms of Wall Street and the corridors of Pennsylvania Avenue, I don’t think you’ll see a yellow sign that says “Think Safety!” as you do on job sites and in many repair shops, no doubt because those who sit on the swivel chairs tend to live remote from the consequences of the decisions they make. Why not encourage gifted students to learn a trade, if only in the summers, so that their fingers will be crushed once or twice before they go on to run the country?
Executive Pay-Day Perhaps, if we don't maintain the greatest worker-to-executive salary discrepancy in the world, the terrorists win.
posted by subpixel
on May 5, 2003 -
The Nametag Nation gets a voice online. RetailWorkers along with our brethren in food service are the bulk of the nations clock-punchers now, and we've got a lot on our minds. Some sites, like the above linked, offer info on serious concerns. Othersites just let us vent. You may not agree with what we think, but we deserve to be heard from.
posted by jonmc
on Jul 16, 2002 -