A new report exposes how companies breed fear among low-wage workers through illegal retaliation and make violating workers’ rights a standard business practice. These degraded working conditions are now further fueled by the Trump Administration’s threats and rhetoric attacking all workers, but especially undocumented working communities.
Read more at Raise The Floor
By Daisy Contreras
Isaura Martinez was working at a Bolingbrook factory when she felt a pull in her left wrist as she was attaching a metal hook to the back of a Christmas card holder. Four years have passed, but the Cicero woman still feels pain, after surgery to correct the issue.
She was a temporary worker hired out by a staffing agency at the time of the injury. Every worker, she says, was required to do a variety of tasks, such as packaging coffee and tobacco and assembling cardboard boxes for toothpaste. Because she was employed through a staffing agency, it was unclear to her who was responsible for overseeing training and other working conditions.
Read more and listen to the story at NPR Illinois
Illinois Black Legislative Caucus
SPRINGFIELD, IL – “Today, we showed that the power of the people can reform the pervasive systemic problem with temp agencies and their client companies. Today is a victory,” exclaimed Representative Carol Ammons of the 103rd District, the Chief Sponsor of the Responsible Job Creation Act. Just earlier today at 12:30PM, dozens of temp workers, allies, and experts successfully testified before the Labor & Commerce Committee in Springfield advocating for the passage of the Responsible Job Creation Act.
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Big companies like Amazon, Walmart, Home Depot and more have degraded blue-collar jobs that were once highly desired, well-paid union jobs. These companies are permanently replacing direct hire jobs with abusive "temporary" jobs through layers of contracting, with temp agencies bringing workers to labor in their factories and warehouses.
Temp agencies promise more for less at the expense of workers, containing costs by squeezing profit from workers' wages, benefits, and working conditions. The message of expendability directed at workers employed as temps, living paycheck to paycheck, poses a constant threat to workers who try to improve their jobs through organizing or defend their rights against abuse.
In collaboration with the National Staffing Workers Alliance, NESRI has released Temporary Work, Permanent Abuse: How Big Business Destroys Good Jobs, capturing the devastating human impact of this systemic corporate practice. The joint report includes findings from 13 focus groups with industrial temp workers in the metro areas of Chicago and Boston and the ports of southern California and New Jersey.
Key findings include:
By Karen Lentz
A bill under consideration in the Illinois legislature is drawing attention to a growing trend in today’s workforce: employers meeting long-term staffing needs by contracting with employment companies and temporary work agencies.
A contract company may handle a range of hiring tasks including recruitment, training, payroll, benefits, and other typical human resources functions. In providing services to its clients, a staffing service company may offer a form of “temporary” work in which a worker is employed by the agency and sent out to its clients on assignments, perhaps long-term.
Temporary employment accounted for 3.4 percent of the total workforce in Illinois in 2015, with 989 temporary staffing agencies operating in the state, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Read More at Medill Reports Chicago
By Livia Gershon
For more than 20 years, Rachel Schlueter had been a teacher in the Milwaukee public school system, and—like all her colleagues—a member of the teacher's union.
"I paid my dues, and if I had a problem, I would call the union, so usually I really had very little contact," she said.
That was before 2011, when the Wisconsin Legislature passed Act 10, Republican governor Scott Walker's plan to drastically reduce the power of the state's public sector unions and reduce the budgets for public schools. Because of Act 10, Schlueter said, her take-home pay dropped by $8,000 thanks to her being required to make increased contributions to her health and retirement benefits. But it also made her realize how important fighting for their union was. Suddenly she was going to rallies, spending whole days at the state house waiting to testify before committees, and meeting a whole new group of activist teacher friends on Facebook. When there was a proposal to replace many Milwaukee schools with charters—something she believed would hurt the city's students—she and her new friends beat it back.
Read More at Vice News
By Jeff Schuhrke
Sweeping legislation introduced in the Illinois state legislature last month would dramatically improve pay, benefits and working conditions for almost a million of the state’s temp workers toiling in factories, warehouses and offices.
The Responsible Job Creation Act, sponsored by State Rep. Carol Ammons, aims to transform the largely unregulated temporary staffing industry by introducing more than 30 new worker protections, including pay equity with direct hires, enhanced safety provisions, anti-discrimination measures and protection from retaliation.
The innovative law is being pushed by the worker centers Chicago Workers’ Collaborative (CWC) and Warehouse Workers for Justice (WWJ), which say it would restore the temp industry to its original purpose of filling short-term, seasonal labor needs and recruiting new employees into direct-hire jobs.
Read More at In These Times
By Representative Carol Ammons
All of us are feeling it. We see it happening every day. While representing constituents in Illinois’ 103rd district, I watch the tragedy of an entire state losing good, blue collar jobs on a constant basis.
In the case of Illinois, we’re not just losing jobs to competition overseas or across state lines. Our state is hemorrhaging so much crucial economic activity because companies are overusing and abusing a permanent “temporary” workforce.
Many of us know them as “temps.”
Somewhere along the way, we let good, full-time jobs go bad and go away. Jobs that built our middle class with stability, living wages, health care and retirement benefits.
It’s tragic because Illinois is one of the most vital and influential distribution hubs in the country. Perhaps, even, in the world. We enjoy a rich, vibrant and intersecting network of highways and railways keeping us at the center of the production and movement of goods. These products are at the heart of major American business operations like Walmart and Amazon.
Read More at WEAA-FM
By Will Evans
As a teenager, Carol Ammons worked as a temporary employee for a factory that needed extra labor over the holiday season.
Now, as an Illinois state representative, Ammons is hoping to change the very nature of temp work in Illinois. The Urbana Democrat announced new legislation Wednesday that takes on discrimination and exploitation in an industry that’s among the fastest-growing sectors in the workforce.
The bill would impose new rules on how temp workers are hired, paid and treated on the job.
“We know there are good temp work firms that follow the law,” Ammons said in an interview. “But there are also those that are unfortunately predatory in their actions, and they take advantage of their workers.”
Read More at Reveal
By Claire Bushey
A new bill in Springfield that would add protections for temporary workers follows the playbook for labor advocates nationwide: Push for change in the states, because the federal government isn't coming to help.
Rep. Carol Ammons, D-Urbana, plans to introduce legislation targeting staffing companies that supply temporary workers to companies in industries like manufacturing and logistics. Staffing companies employ roughly 800,000 workers in Illinois. If passed, the bill would mandate that temporary workers receive the same pay as full-time employees and make it harder for companies to fire them for questioning pay or working conditions.
Read more at Crain's Chicago Business