Friday, January 22, 2010

LOUISVILLE NEWS INVESTIGATES: TEMP JOBS GOOD FOR OUR COMMUNITY? I DISAGREE

by John Springston

Okay, for those of you who don't know, let me explain exactly how temporary and seasonal jobs work.

First of all, I think it's very important to understand that temporary employees don't always come from temp agencies. Both seasonal and temporary employees can be hired directly through any company without the help of an outside agency. That being said one might ask, why would a business want to go through the trouble of setting up a whole new system of hiring employees? Shouldn't business only be allowed to hire temporary employees through other agencies? How are employees rights being treated in this new trend?

I will answer all of these questions and more but in the end it can always be explained by "following the money". It starts with a few downright sickening facts about the way major businesses are being run in today's workplace.

Say a business only needs on average 500 full time employees at all times (give or take depending on busy seasons and so forth). That's 500 employees making $10.00/hour..... 500 employees getting semi-annual raises.....500 employees recieving healthcare, 401k and stock options.

Now think what would happen if businesses found a legal way to add to their annual profit and not hurt their production both at the same time, while also being able to get rid of 200 F/T employees? Would they do it?

I believe that answer can be assumed YES. This is how it's done.

By firing 200 F/T employees, and replacing them with temporary and seasonal workers here is what is accomplished.

LIST OF NON-RIGHTS OF THE TEMPORARY EMPLOYEE

1.Seasonal/Temporary workers on the whole have NO rights. You can be fired for any reason whatsoever without cause at any time.

2.Seasonal/Temporary workers are not "required by law" to receive any healthcare benefits from it's employer.

3.Seasonal/Temporary workers are not "required by law" to receive the same pay-rate as full-time employees.

4.Seasonal/Temporary workers are not "required by law" to receive any sick days, vacation etc.
5.Seasonal/Temporary workers are not "required by law" to receive any days off. (Your employer can work you 7 days a week).

It only gets worse.
If a company fires 200 F/T employees, they need to find a way to compensate for their lost workforce, while keeping down costs. So they decide to hire 300 "temporary" employees through a temp agency at $8/hour instead of $10/hour for full-time. 100 employees per each 8 hour shift (3 shifts). They only pay $1/hour per person to the temp agency. In essence they gained 100 employees and are able to pay them all $1 LESS per hour. Instead of paying $2000/hour for 200 employees, your paying $2700/hour for 300 employees. So the employer is technically paying for 70 of the extra 100 "temporary" employees, and getting 30 for free. What does it cost the employer? Nothing. How is that?

Because there are no benifits, no paid days off, no sick days, no rights whatsoever. Some business can even get rid of their human resources department to save cost, because they are using only temporary employees with the only F/T employees being management.

Thirty free employees and no legacy costs. Can you see how these businesses are able to make money? What else is being achieved through this undermining of labor rights? This business was able to gain 30 free employees, and lower cost. How long could this last? Eventually those temporary workers will be full-time correct? Don't we have laws in place to ensure the rights of the employee?

I'm sorry, but yes and no. Technically, by law a "temporary" employee must be given the option of full-time employment after 90 days or terminated before those 90 days are up, that is if i've interpreted the state laws correctly. But after 89 days of working your ass off 6-7 days per week, without being allowed to miss any days, without ever being late, assume your even doing extraordinary work, YOU'RE FIRED.

NO explanations, NO accountability, NO rights. Why?

Because temporary employees have no rights; see number 1 on the list. This is obviously beneficial to an employer, and a travesty for the employee. Think about how many employees could be filtered in and out of a business anually. I also want to bring another point to the table.

Assume that the employer does want to keep you. Your one of the lucky few, congratulations.

By law an employer is required to make you full-time.......that is unless that business is on a "hiring freeze". Another loophole.

If a business is on a "hiring freeze" they are no longer required by law to hire you, and also no longer required to fire you. You are essentially in limbo. You can still be fired for any reason, but the employer still does not have to give you any rights as a full-time employee. And guess what, YOU ARE A FULL-TIME EMPLOYEE.

"Temp" title or not, you are working full-time and deserve the rights of an employee who is working full-time. Imagine close to 300 employees being fired every 3 months for all new faces to by-pass the rights of the employee that we've paid for in blood, sweat, and tears over the past 100 years. Then you apply for a legit full time job only to be denied because your "work history" is suspect from having to change jobs so much. I know we have short lives and short memories, but is it not important to ensure that our freedoms are protected?

Isn't it our responsibility? So why are we not fighting? What about those companies that want to utilize the opportunity of a "slave-labor" work force, but don't want to pay a temp agency $1/hour per head?

That's easily solved, don't use the temp agency and change the title of the employee to "seasonal". You still get to pay the employee shit wages with no rights, but now you don't have to pay their "handlers", you just hire them directly through your own company. You get to save (holding true to the previously assumed numbers, 100 employees for 3 shifts per day) $100/hour for 24 hours a day. $2400 per day......in other words $876,000 per year. Now that's just the $1/hour not being payed to the temp agency. Plus the other $1/hour less they were already making. So they are saving $1,752,000 annually just by paying those "seasonal" employees $2/hour less than F/T. Over $1 million dollars being saved by employers annually, not to mention taken away from employees. Thats just from the designated payrate.

What about the unimaginable amount of money being saved by not offering healthcare? matching 401k? semi-annual raises?

There is one thing that we all have that works in our favor as employees to any company. Unions.

If 51% of the employees in any company sign a petition for a union, by law that company has to allow a union. So why aren't we fighting again? Because if 50 % of your workforce is seasonal or temporary, and they in turn have no rights and can be fired for any reason, there is a monopoly. Not only do they not have the right to vote for representation (even though they are full time in actuality), they are automatically fired for even talking about it. Just one more way to avoid employer responsibility. Additionally many of these employers openly threaten employees with the line " we will send our business overseas if you attempt to unionize."
Illegal to do of course but not talked about publicly. 

So to recap:

1.Our rights as employees are being violated.

2.Businesses are capitalizing on every loophole they can find.

3.It is our job as citizens to correct this mistake. Now I know some of you are asking, how much of this can be true.

So here's some free information from my own personal experience.

GSI 7601 Tradeport Drive Louisville KY 40258 (502)-955-0223 (I worked at this warehouse for two seasons) One supervisor at GSI who has asked to remain anonomys told me that on average they keep 300 FT employees annually. They also have close to 10,000 different seasonal or temporary employees annually. How many FT positions do you think they are saving money on?
When I set up a meeting with their human resources department to interview for this article, and ask them questions in regards to their seasonal and temporary workforce, they gave me an appointment. Yet when I showed up as appointed, I was refused any information, told to leave the premises, and after an immediate refusal had the police called on me.

I left before they arrived.

DJ Nypro 7301 Distribution Drive Louisville KY 40258 (502)-933-2525 OUT OF BUSINESS (I worked at this warehouse for 2 1/2 months) This place was filled with temporary employees and when we finally decided to try and get a union together we were fired a few days later without notice and without reason.

Cafepress, Guess jeans, GSI, DJNypro, you name it. All of these places hire seasonal and temporary employees. All of these places have temp workers who have been there longer than 90 days and still aren't receiving any full-time benefits. And yet CNN praises the work of the temp-agency's for doing such a good job in troubling economic times. I'd suggest they start doing a little research before they start clapping their hands about employees having their rights taken away from them so quietly.
Don't tell me that the economy is rebounding because a lot of rich people found a way to save their money.

Tell me what your doing to protect the rights of the real workers in this country.

3 comments:

  1. I've worked both hourly and salary positions - in both environments I worked/work hard, and consider both to be 'real work'.

    Some of the non-rights (401K, sick/vacation leave, insurance) you describe are actually benefits, so I'd argue that your choice of words lean more to the union rhetoric and less to the facts.

    You imply that the companies are greedy and making windfall profits. Assuming some of your math is correct, could some of those dollars be used to reinvest, expand, retool, and to make other competitive improvements? If so, you should at least acknowledge that that may matter and be to everyone's benefit.

    I often agree with what you have to say, but this time I repectfully disagree - and would suggest that your union bias has gotten the better of you on this one.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have worked both sides as well so I understand. I think you may want to reread this article as it essentially is saying that using temps for a primary work force is destroying the work force itself.

    Additionally, this article is not written by me as you can see from the byline.

    Thanks for writing.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Well, to respond......I have no union background, or any insight into unions short of an "outside perspective". My point of this article was simple, to show how temporary and seasonal jobs are replacing a large amount of our workforce in warehouses etc. And let us not forget, unions are what SAVED us in the long run, back when we had no rights in the workplace, long hours, small pay, no benifits, and more importantly NO SAFETY. Unions are what put a stop to that. And while unions we're NOT the point of the story, they play an important part in the decline of our businesses. We have gotten rid of the negotiator for the employee. No one is fighting for better pay, benifits etc. And with healthcare being such a hot button issue right now, and unions being the entity that employees use to fight for those benifits, i'm shocked to see that you can't understand why this is such an important connection. And one more point, assuming that those dollars are used to re-invest, retool, upgrade etc, we are still using employees as slave-labor in my opinion. If an employee has no rights,and isn't allowed to fight for any rights, he is essentially a slave to that busines, and I for one do not remember that ever being a good thing for anyone except for the business. After all what is the point in setting employee guidelines, if you can just hire seasonal and temporary workers who are NOT protected by those guidelines? We have created a different class of employee, the lower-lower class.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for reading LNP. Open and honest discussions of local politics and relevant issues is important to voter understanding. Please listen to the "Ed Springston Show". We broadcast Monday through Thursday evenings at 7 PM on local media outlets. Please check for the links.
Yours truly,
Ed Springston

JOHNSON TO REMAIN ON COUNCIL.....AS IT SHOULD BE

The Metro removal hearing case against Dan Johnson ended about the way it began. With many in disbelief. I could not understand how the &q...