Last April, when Federico Lopez and his sanitation team were ordered to clean a Taylor Farms storage area, the 23-year-old didn’t like what he saw.
“I went into the hallway that they expected me to clean,” Lopez remembers. “There was pigeon feces, dead pigeons, dead bats and black mold. I’m certified for that, but the rest of my coworkers weren’t.” The crew had only been given dust masks for the job by the temporary labor contractor who employed them.
When Lopez raised concerns about the cleanup, he says Taylor Farms, which is the world’s largest producer of cut vegetables and salads, assured him everything was fine and not to bother with the mess. He says that later that evening, an equally unequipped and untrained night crew cleaned the room. Shortly after, Lopez was given his notice after only three weeks on the job.
This month Assemblyman Roger Hernandez (D-West Covina) heard Lopez’s and other stories in the Central Valley town of Tracy from about 200 mostly Latino Tracy Farms workers and family members.
Unlike the Kelly Girls of years past, today’s temp workers are just as likely to be hired to fill blue collar jobs as office positions, with one major caveat: the new “temporary” hires who pick crops, pack vegetables or clean hotel rooms can work at those jobs for years at the same company — and with little or no advancement. And, according to recent research, that’s exactly the way some of America’s largest companies like it.
The practice has become so pervasive that California Assemblymember Roger Hernandez (D-West Covina) is pushing forward a bill, modeled on similar laws passed in Illinois and Massachusetts, intended to hold companies accountable for serious violations of workers’ rights committed by their own labor suppliers.
“As new jobs are added to the economy, employers are utilizing the subcontracted model known as ‘perma-temps’ to avoid accountability in the workplace,” Hernandez said last week.
Inequality. You’re probably hearing this word everywhere, and rightly so. In the U.S. today, the top one percent own about 38 percent of the financial wealth in America. The bottom 60 percent own 2.3 percent. So what are some of the forces shrinking the middle class?
A new report by the National Employment Law Project (NELP) finds that outsourcing is one of the central factors driving down wages and working conditions in the post-recession economy. The practice allows public and private employers to evade labor laws, avoid payroll taxes, push costs onto workers and shirk their responsibility to provide basic benefits. It also leaves workers in an ambiguous legal status with no clear path to hold their employers accountable for abuses like stolen wages.
The report, “Who’s the Boss: Restoring Accountability for Labor Standards in Outsourced Work,” shows that outsourcing is a shell game for employers trying to avoid accountability,
We’re excited to announce the creation of In The Public Interest’s ITPI Scholars Network as the next step in our growth and expanding influence on the issues of privatization and outsourcing of public services and assets across the country.
The ITPI Scholars Network brings together academics who are experts in diverse fields that relate to government privatization and outsourcing as well as responsible contracting.
Three members of the ITPI Scholars Network have recently released or are close to releasing studies that have found that careless outsourcing can harm communities, taxpayers and vulnerable residents:
• Dr. Daphne Greenwood of the University of Colorado released her new study The Decision to Contract Out: Understanding the Full Economic and Social Impacts. She found that reductions in contracted wages and benefits leads to a host of negative effects for the community at large; these harms include declining retail sales,
Skopje, Macedonia might seem a long way from Los Angeles, but for the 2,000 professional musicians who earn their living recording the film scores for Hollywood’s big movie studios, the Balkan capital — and the bleak future for L.A. movie musicians that it might represent — seems to be getting closer every day.
In at least one way, that future has already arrived in the form of Lionsgate’s Draft Day and the Ivan Reitman film’s nonunion score. Starring Kevin Costner, the movie tells an all-American story of a fictionalized general manager of the lowly Cleveland Browns and his efforts to save Cleveland football on NFL draft day by trading for the number one player pick.
Less all-American is the story behind the recording of Draft Day’s music, which was reportedly piped via the Internet to a Hollywood studio and the film’s composer, John Debney,