Supply Chain Accountability for Temp Workers

National Temp Worker Study 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: Though all workers preferred direct hire work, four out of five had never had a temp job lead to being directly hired Six years was the average time participants had been working through temp agencies 74 percent had experienced illegal wage theft 47 percent had filed a complaint with the DOL or tried to improve wages or working conditions and experienced retaliation Our joint report also highlights how temp workers are leading the way to build power and affect change by fixing loopholes in our broken workplace enforcement systems and restoring rule of law for all workers. Workers are organizing and advocating for critical reforms in public policy, which can also be achieved and reinforced through legally binding supply chain contracts. Three elements of needed reform include: Broad supply chain accountability – Legal liability that extends fully up supply chains, holding companies with the power and influence to monitor and regulate intermediaries accountable for working conditions, just as they regularly do for product quality; Preventative and corrective measures – Penalties designed to incentivize legal compliance and corrective action; and Path to justice that meets workers’ needs – An effective path to justice for workers to defend their rights and improve these jobs for the benefit of all. Read the full report and executive summary here. Find out more about how the National Staffing Workers Alliance is fighting locally to win supply chain accountability, including: Temp worker led organizing in New Jersey facilitated by New Labor; Temp and direct hire joint organizing in Southern California led by Warehouse Worker Resource Center; Responsible job legislation in Illinois led by Warehouse Workers for Justice and Chicago Workers’ Collaborative; and Legislation that creates legal responsibility for businesses at the top of supply chains in Massachusetts and Rhodes Island led by members of the Immigrant Worker Center Collaborative.