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Sat Jan 26, 2013, 02:40 AM

 

Temp worker nation: 1/3 of US workforce now classified as 'contingent'

Almost one-third of American workers now do some kind of freelance work, and they lack almost every kind of economic security that permanent full-time workers traditionally have had. Though exact figures are impossible to find, many experts and labor organizers estimate that about 30 percent of U.S. workers are “contingent.” That means they don’t have a permanent job. They work as freelancers, temporary workers, on contract, or on call, or their employers define them (often illegally) as “independent contractors...” Richard Greenwald, a sociologist of work and professor at St. Joseph’s College in Brooklyn, estimates that their share of the U.S. workforce has increased by close to half in the last 10 years.

Who are freelancers and contingent workers...? Catherine Ruckelshaus, legal codirector of the National Employment Law Project in New York, counts “everyone who’s not a W-2 employee,” including people paid on 1099s, franchisees, and people paid in cash, such as construction day laborers, as a contingent worker. Richard Greenwald arrived at his estimates by counting sole-proprietorship businesses and people who listed more income on 1099s than on W-2s...This trend affects workers at all income levels, but the fastest-growing sector is college graduates in “creative” fields. In the last few years, book publishers and advertising agencies have outsourced their graphic designers, hiring them back as freelancers with no benefits. Many publishers now hire editors on a per-manuscript basis...

At the Nissan auto factory in Canton, Mississippi, more than 20 percent of the 4,400 workers are temps, according to the Labor Notes monthly newsletter. The company says it plans to hire 1,000 new workers this year, but all will be temporary. The temps start at $12 an hour, below what permanent workers earn, and workers say no temp has ever been permanently hired at the plant. Even at Ford’s Detroit-area plants, the classic bastion of union industrial labor, local activist Dianne Feeley, a retired United Auto Workers member, says a significant percentage of workers are temps or contract workers...

“A huge problem,” says Catherine Ruckelshaus, is employers illegally defining workers as independent contractors...FedEx Ground, for example, defines its 15,000 drivers as independent contractors, even though they drive company-assigned routes and must drive vans with the FedEx logo and color scheme... The legal definition, Ruckelshaus says, is whether the person is running an independent business—are they investing their own money, and can they pass on increased costs? The Internal Revenue Service’s general rule is that an individual is an independent contractor if the person hiring them has “the right to control or direct only the result of the work,” while the worker decides “the means and methods of accomplishing the result.”

The scam’s advantage for employers is that they don’t have to pay minimum wage or overtime, Social Security, Medicare or unemployment taxes, or workers’ compensation. The result, the American Rights at Work report said, is that FedEx drivers not only make less money than those at UPS, who are permanent workers with a union; they also have to pay for gas and maintenance for their vans. Many lease vans from a company-approved supplier...

http://www.alternet.org/labor/temp-worker-nation-if-you-do-get-hired-it-might-not-be-long?paging=off

"The cutthroats can survive in this new world but the rest of society is suffering.”

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Reply Temp worker nation: 1/3 of US workforce now classified as 'contingent' (Original post)
HiPointDem Jan 2013 OP
Populist_Prole Jan 2013 #1
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #3
oh08dem Jan 2013 #2
catrose Jan 2013 #4
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #5
Shadowflash Jan 2013 #6
Cal Carpenter Jan 2013 #8
Shadowflash Jan 2013 #9
Cal Carpenter Jan 2013 #15
Shadowflash Jan 2013 #16
DogPawsBiscuitsNGrav Jan 2013 #19
nilram Jan 2013 #7
Romulox Jan 2013 #10
ProSense Jan 2013 #18
gollygee Jan 2013 #11
Boomerproud Jan 2013 #12
Starry Messenger Jan 2013 #13
leftstreet Jan 2013 #14
TwilightGardener Jan 2013 #17
ProSense Jan 2013 #20

Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 02:51 AM

1. But it makes companies so "competitive"!!



The old adage of "what's good for xyz company is good for America" has been so long since turned on its head, yet so many dolts will heap praise upon the same system that shits on them.

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Response to Populist_Prole (Reply #1)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 03:19 AM

3. +1. and competitive with who, one might ask? since the people pushing this run the multinational

 

companies that operate all over the fucking globe. where they are also instituting the same policies of contingency.

what they're basically saying is american workers need to eat shit and be happy to have a job eating shit, or they'll give more of that delicious shit to foreign workers.

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 03:18 AM

2. This is true at a Con-Agra plant I worked at

The existing hired in labor force where starting to organize with UFCW and they brought in large quantities of temp workers to help blunt the organizing efforts. In their "orientation" with the temp workers (which I was apart of) over 4 hours was spent filling their heads with anti-union propaganda. It was disgusting.

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 03:57 AM

4. so that number doesn't include

include people who get a W2 from a contracting company, which pays SS, unemployment, but nothing else. Such workers are just as contingent. I wonder how much they'd add to the one-third figure.

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Response to catrose (Reply #4)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 04:04 AM

5. I wondered about that too. also about people who get w2s but are essentially contingent, like

 

a lot of fast food workers -- yeah, their employees pay benefits, but a lot of them get minimal hours & are essentially disposable.

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 07:52 AM

6. This is kind of misleading on one point.

As a Freelance illustrator and artist, I know that I have worked hard, over many years, to get to a position of 'freelance'. They lump freelancers in with people working through Office Team and Manpower. In my experience being a freelancer is the result of many years of hard work and relationship building and not a bad thing. I wouldn't want it any other way.

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Response to Shadowflash (Reply #6)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 09:10 AM

8. Your personal experience

doesn't negate the statistical reality being discussed here. The growing numbers of people without real benefits or job security is not a good thing. You are the exception and it is 'misleading' to imply that your anecdote overrides the point being made in this article.

It's great that you have become a successful freelancer. It must be simply awful to be 'lumped in' with people who have to temp with an agency or are getting screwed by some other company's contract. How very declasse

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Response to Cal Carpenter (Reply #8)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 10:41 AM

9. Please spare me your moronic sarcasm.

The article (it's main point aside) implies that people working as freelancers are, like most part time or temporary workers, underemployed, taken advantage of and/or unappreciated. While the point of the article is not diminished, this is not the case for me and most freelancers I work with in the publishing industry.

I spoke nothing of the plight of the other groups mentioned here, in NO context called it a good thing, and your idiotic attack was completely unfounded.

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Response to Shadowflash (Reply #9)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 11:16 AM

15. Your words speak for themselves

An article regarding the growing number of Americans with no job security inspires you to post about your personal, exceptional, and rather irrelevant anecdote. Unlike you, I am not on this thread to put the 'main point aside' and discuss individual exceptions to the systemic issues presented in the article.

Somehow it is important to you that everyone knows that you are a successful freelancer and not in that 'lump' of people who are struggling.

Whether deliberate or not, your implication is that the millions of people in this situation who are not able to make ends meet must not be working hard enough or 'building enough relationships'. That is what inspired my sarcasm.

The big picture here isn't about individuals who have the skills or resources needed to freelance and make it work for themselves. It is about millions of people who cannot make a living and cannot feel secure in their jobs due to evolving 'norms' of our economy.

In short, it isn't about you. However the tendency to react this way - personally - about big-picture, systemic issues, is common. It is reinforced by our culture of hyper-individualism. It also helps maintain the status quo and works against any sort of solidarity among the working class (which includes you and those temp agency types alike whether you like it or not). So congrats, you are aligning with and defending the interests of the ruling class and apparently you don't even know it.

I assure you, I am familiar with freelance writing and the current publishing climate, and I will simply re-emphasize that your experience is the EXCEPTION, not the norm.

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Response to Cal Carpenter (Reply #15)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 11:48 AM

16. Right.

'the millions of people in this situation who are not able to make ends meet must not be working hard enough or 'building enough relationships' - Your words, not mine.

I didn't say, or imply, anything even close. Having been there, I never would have, either.

I was simply pointing out that the article is a little off. A factual statement with no judgement or pride.

If you got butthurt by reading into it something that wasn't there, that's your issue, not mine.

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Response to Shadowflash (Reply #6)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 12:50 PM

19. It all depends on the person. I work as an independent contractor and It works well for me. I'm

 

often living and traveling in and out of three different countries during the year. Sometimes I'm more creative & productive at 3AM than I am at 9AM. I can go for days being very productive and then not produce anything for days while traveling and don't have to worry about losing my job. I can sit in the mountains for weeks without getting out of my pajamas and get paid. If one of my kids or animals get sick I can stay home and tend to them without fear of getting fired. For me this is very good and an option I'd hate to see go away.

Hiring people for years and calling them temporary workers just so you don't have to pay them well or offer benefits, on the other hand is just plain wrong.



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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 01:01 AM

7. Owch. Didn't know that UPS drivers are better paid and unionized.

I've received more packages crunched and mangled by UPS than by FedEx. Conflict of loyalties here: my packages versus unions... When I ship stuff outbound, I try to use USPS though.

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 10:43 AM

10. Ohno! My Nissan is made by **TEMP** scabs!1!!1!!!1!!

I'm sure Nissan buyers everywhere will give a damn!

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Response to Romulox (Reply #10)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 11:58 AM

18. "I'm sure Nissan buyers everywhere will give a damn!"

Your comment seems anti-union.

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 10:44 AM

11. Someone close to me

was hired several years ago as a temp with the understanding that after proving himself for one year as a temp, he would be made a full employee. But they just kept him a temp, and the economy is such that he can't just up and find a different job.

This is one of many scams being perpetuated against US workers.

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 10:45 AM

12. Count me among the temps

I've been one since July 2011 (three different assignments) and I have no dreams and a constant knot in my stomach (not to mention that health care takes up 1/2 of my income).

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 10:51 AM

13. Piece work.

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 10:55 AM

14. DURec

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 11:56 AM

17. The way it is now. My last job was as an on-call "seasonal" worker, but I worked

year round in various capacities (basically, wherever they wanted me--usually filling in for full time staff or helping with extra workloads) for almost three years--no benefits, no paid time off, unlike the people I worked alongside.

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 04:03 PM

20. For several years, most recently

2009 and 2010, Senator Kerry pushed legislation to address this scam.

Teamsters Praise Bill to Close Loophole for Tax Cheats
http://www.teamster.org/content/teamsters-praise-bill-close-loophole-tax-cheats-0

White House Endorses Legislation to Close Tax Loophole That Hurts Workers and Businesseshttp://www.kerry.senate.gov/press/release/?id=cd7f5a6e-7feb-41ae-8e8f-6004669821fc

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