Representative Dunkin Announces Bill to Bring Down Barriers to Jobs

"This is a new day," stated Rep. Dunkin. "And I am proud to be a part of this growing Bringing Down Barriers coalition, so that we can attain justice for all workers in our states temp staffing sector."

“This is a new day,” stated Rep. Dunkin. “And I am proud to be a part of this growing Bringing Down Barriers coalition, so that we can attain justice for all workers in our states temp staffing sector.”

Latino Worker Activists Stand United with African-American Workers to Address Temp Staffing Industry Hiring Practices

On Wednesday, October 8th, Illinois State Representative Kenneth Dunkin (D-5), leader of the Black Caucus of the Illinois General Assembly, announced he will introduce legislation which will offer hope to thousands of African-American job-seekers who are routinely denied work on the basis of their race by the temporary staffing industry.

“It is a shame that we have to hear about the abuses Latino workers are suffering at the hands of some of the bad actors in temp staffing,” Dunkin said, “And it is sad that in 2014 that we still hear from African American workers that they find it very difficult to be accepted for employment at temp staffing offices.”

“However, this is a new day,” stated Dunkin, “And I am proud to be a part of this growing Bringing Down Barriers coalition, so that we can attain justice for all workers in our states temp staffing sector.”

The African American unemployment rate tends to be about double that of whites, regardless of the economic climate. A 2011 Economic Policy Institute (EPI) study concluded that labor market discrimination is at the root of African-American male underemployment. The study analyzes employment data and determines that occupational preferences and a dearth of “soft skills” are not the causes of employment disparities between blacks and whites. By systematically excluding those other causes, EPI concludes that discrimination must exist in today’s job market.

Unfortunately, many African-American workers have approached the Chicago Workers Collaborative with a similar story: When they apply for work at day and temporary service agencies, the agencies do not hire them.

“The temporary staffing industry is the gatekeeper for hundreds of thousands of jobs in our state,” says Richard Wallace, the main organizer of the Bringing Down Barriers Campaign. “It should play by the same rules as other large businesses and not be used to shut out certain races from jobs.”

Numerous recent media reports describe how Latino temp workers often labor segregated from native-born workers in deplorable, unsafe conditions; experience wage theft, sexual harassment, and other violations to their rights.

“Temp agencies believe that they can take advantage of immigrant workers like me,” says Rosa Ramirez, a temp rights activist with CWC. “For example, I have often seen that companies will put two immigrant temp workers to operate a machine which is designed to be operated by four workers. We immigrants are learning our rights and say that two more workers should be hired to operate that machine. And they should be African-American.”

The bill amends the Illinois Day and Temporary Labor Services Act to require a day and temporary service agency, as part of its record-keeping obligations, to collect demographic information from job seekers on a contact form which allows each laborer to self-identify his or her race and gender. The bill requires that this information to be maintained separately from any personnel files used to make job assignments.
We would like to thank a number of important allies who were present to support the Bringing Down Barriers policy campaign:
Chicago Jobs with Justice
Coalition of Black Trade Unionists
Men and Women in Prison Ministries
Northern Illinois Jobs with Justice
Raise the Floor (Worker Center alliance)
United Food and Commercial Workers Local 881
Worker Center for Racial Justice

The Permanent Temp Economy

Rebecca Smith, Deputy Director of the National Employment Law Project recently had an Op-Ed published by US News & World Report which examines the current trend towards low-paying, dangerous temp jobs.  NELP  and the National Staffing Workers Alliance recently released Temped Out: How the Domestic Outsourcing of Blue Collar Jobs Harms America’s Workers .

The Permanent Temp Economy

Staffing industry jobs need not be degraded and dangerous jobs. We can implement solutions to protect the rights of the 2.8 million staffing workers and the many millions of America’s franchised and outsourced workers. We should follow the lead of most European and Latin American countries and restrict temporary work to truly temporary jobs created by staff shortages or special projects. We should guarantee temporary workers the same wages and benefits that direct hires receive and restrict outsourcing in hazardous jobs. Lastly we should enforce existing laws and pass new measures to ensure that Costco, Walmart and other leading U.S. companies take responsibility for the people who make and move their products.

Click here to read the full article.

NELP & NSWA Release New Report on the Temp Industry

The National Staffing Workers Alliance and the National Employment Law Project recently released a report examining the growth of the temp industry.  This is a comprehensive look at the industry and which sectors of the economy are increasingly reliant on temp labor.

The Rapid growth of the temp industry presents challenges for the government agencies which protect workers as well as worker organizations.  This report looks not only at the data, which shows an explosive growth of the industry, but also highlight workers and their stories of fighting back.

Staffing work is one part of a larger story about the declining middle class in our country. More and more, major corporations are separating themselves from the workers who make their products and supply their shelves by inserting labor intermediaries who are nominally the employers” of these workers.

We encourage everyone to download and disseminate the report to your friends and allies.

Click here to download the full report.

 

 

NY Times Article Highlights Problems with the Growth of the Temp Industry

The NY Times writer Steven Greenhouse  published an article highlighting the rapid growth of the temp industry in the years following the end of the “great recession”.   Mr. Greenhouse shows the growth of the temp industry, especially in the industrial and logistics sectors, is now at record highs and how this has led to several problems including health and safety issues.

Click here to view the full article.

Temp Worker Dies Because Plant Manger Said Safety Device Was Slowing Production

Aqui-Ahora
A recent investigation by ProPublica and Univision expose the death of a New Jersey worker who died in a Pennsylvania sugar plant and how New Jersey based temp agencies completely disregarded worker safety.  The sugar plant in question, CSC Sugar, had been previously been cited for violating health and safety regulations and repeatedly disregards the safety of temp workers,

ProPublica

http://www.propublica.org/article/sugar-plant-removed-safety-device-13-days-before-temp-workers-death

Univision

http://noticias.univision.com/video/480466/2014-07-06/aqui-y-ahora/videos/trabajadores-temporales-esclavitud-moderna?ctx_t=collection&ctx_v=e235c76f14c7364853b8c28ec6cc3587~33f0db7515b7c7859327ed64467baa3e

CCT Demands Justice for Workers at Niche, Inc.!

Niche1

Dear allies and partners:

CCT, a member of Immigrant Worker Center Collaborative (IWCC), is pushing a campaign against Niche, Inc., and we would like to invite you to first sign a petition (here at: Niche: Fulfill your obligation to laid-off workers) and, secondly, to write directly on the company’s contact page using the petition letter below (http://www.nicheinc.com/contact/).

Niche, Inc. is a New Bedford-based company whose main business has been manufacturing parachutes under contract to the U.S. military. A large percentage of the company’s employees are Central American immigrants.

On April 24, 2012, Niche laid-off over 300 employees without any notice whatsoever.  The workers also received no severance pay or payment of accumulated benefits.  The company’s actions caused a crisis in our community, as hundreds of families were left without their weekly paychecks to cover food, rent and other urgent needs.

The workers and the Community Workers Center of New Bedford feel the company’s actions were in clear violation of our community standards as well as the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (the WARN Act), which stipulates 60 days’ advance notice in the case of a mass lay-off such as this. Attorneys from Fair Work PC and Justice At Work have filed a class action in the U.S. District Court in Boston.  Niche responded by arguing that they had no way to foresee the mass lay-off, but the federal judge ruled against them, stating that Niche could not use that as a defense under these circumstances.

Now, instead of paying up, Niche is trying to argue that not enough workers were affected for it to be a violation of federal law.

We feel this is yet another example of Niche’s lack of respect for our community, and we call upon Niche to make good upon its obligations under the WARN Act by restoring the dignity and justice of its former employees.

Please sign our petition to Niche’s president, and tell your friends, so we can obtain justice for these workers at Niche: Fulfill your obligation to laid-off workers! And follow this link (http://www.nicheinc.com/contact/) to Niche’s contact page to enter the petition below:

Petition:

TO:      Roland Letendre, President, Niche Inc.
57 Cove Street
New Bedford, MA
02744

Dear Mr. Letendre:

I call upon your company to fulfill its obligations under the WARN Act to the over 300 employees who were laid off in April 2012.  Specifically, we ask the following:

  1. Come to a meeting with representatives of the Community Workers Center of New Bedford and the laid-off workers to discuss this matter and reach a solution.
  2. Provide severance pay for all of the employees who were not rehired by the company – 60 days’ worth – and also unpaid vacation pay.
  3. Establish procedures so that this will not happen again.

Sincerely,

Your name


 

Estimados aliados:

CCT esta empujando una campaña en contra de Niche, Inc., y nos gustaría invitar a usted a, primero, firmar una petición (aquí: Niche: Cumplen con su obligación a los trabajadores despedidos) y, en segundo lugar, a escribir directamente en la pagina de contacto de la compañía utilizando la carta de petición incluido abajo (http://www.nicheinc.com/contact/)

Niche, Inc. es una compañía basado en New Bedford cuya actividad principal ha sido la fabricación de paracaídas bajo contrato con los militares de EE.UU.. Un gran porcentaje de los empleados de la compañía son los inmigrantes centroamericanos.

El 24 de abril de 2012, Niche despidió mas de 300 empleados sin ninguna notificación. Los trabajadores también recibieron ninguna indemnización o pago de beneficios acumulados. Las acciones de la compañía provocó una crisis en nuestra comunidad, ya que cientos de familias se quedaron sin cheques semanales para cubrir la comida, la renta y otras necesidades urgentes.

Los trabajadores y el Centro Comunitario de Trabajadores de New Bedford se sienten que las acciones de la compañía fueron en clara violación de nuestras normas de la comunidad, así como la Ley de la Adaptación, Notificación, y Reentrenamiento de los Trabajadores (la Ley WARN), que estipula preaviso de 60 días en el caso de un despido masivo como este. Abogados de Fiar Works PC y Justicia en el Trabajo han presentado una demanda colectiva en el Tribunal de Distrito de EE.UU. en Boston. Niche respondió argumentando que no tenían forma de prever el despido masivo, pero el juez federal fallo en contra de ellos, declarando que no podía Niche usar eso como una defensa en estas circunstancias.

Ahora, en lugar de pagar hacia arriba, Niche esta tratando de argumentar que no hay suficientes trabajadores que fueron afectados para que sea una violación de la ley federal.

Creemos que esta es una muestra mas de la falta de respeto a nuestra comunidad por la parte de Niche, y llamamos a Niche para hacer buena sobre sus obligaciones en virtud de la Ley WARN mediante la restauración de la dignidad y la justicia de sus antiguos empleados.

Por favor, firma nuestra petición al presidente de Niche, y dile a sus amigos, para que podamos obtener justicia para estos trabajadores en Niche: Cumplen con su obligación a los trabajadores despedidos. Después, sigue este enlace (http://www.nicheinc.com/contact/) a la pagina de contacto de Niche para entrar la siguiente petición (sigue en ingles):

TO:      Roland Letendre, President, Niche Inc.
57 Cove Street
New Bedford, MA
02744

Dear Mr. Letendre:

I call upon your company to fulfill its obligations under the WARN Act to the over 300 employees who were laid off in April 2012.  Specifically, we ask the following:

  1. Come to a meeting with representatives of the Community Workers Center of New Bedford and the laid-off workers to discuss this matter and reach a solution.
  2. Provide severance pay for all of the employees who were not rehired by the company – 60 days’ worth – and also unpaid vacation pay.
  3. Establish procedures so that this will not happen again.

Sincerely,

Su nombre                             

 Blog de CCT: http://cct-newbedford.org/2014/06/17/petition-and-letter-campaign-against-niche-inc/

Niche2IMG_20140605_160125749 Niche3

New York Post Highlights Job Insecurity of the Temp Industry

The New York Post published an article recently (6/14/14) which highlights insecurity that comes with working in the temp industry and how jobs that were once permanent are increasingly becoming temporary and contract based.

Millions of Americans are back at work in full-time jobs that are anything but permanent.

They’re toiling away without job security, often lacking benefits, in one of the labor market’s fastest-growing categories of steady work. That’s the category for temps, contractors, freelancers and other so-called contingency workers known as “temp-to-hire.”

Click HERE to read the full article on the NY Post Website.