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Posted by Millions Of Second Class Workers on April 24, 2001 at 20:23:15:

In Reply to: THE 50 BILLION DOLLAR A YEAR TEMPORARY EMPLOMENT SCAM posted by AFACME Information on April 20, 2001 at 20:19:35:

Millions of Second-Class Workers

The scope and role of contingent labor in today's economy is staggering. Nearly one-third of America's workers--about 30 million--toil in temporary, contracted, self-employed, leased, part-time and other "nonstandard" arrangements, according to a 1998-99 study by the Economic Policy Institute. Over the past decade, the temp industry has enjoyed phenomenal growth, outpacing most sectors of the economy. Since 1990 the number of workers employed daily by temp agencies has shot up from 1.2 million to 2.9 million, according to the American Staffing Association. Temp jobs constitute a startling 25 percent of all new jobs created since 1984.

In a fundamental restructuring of work, businesses now farm out not just special projects but everyday functions like office cleaning, payroll processing, human resources departments and entire clerical and assembly-line units. "It's all a function of companies trying to externalize any cost that is not core to what they do," explains Amy Dean, executive officer of the South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council. Adds employment relations professor George Gonos of SUNY-Potsdam, who has studied temp labor for twenty years, "This is about a massive secondary labor market that has been created in every occupational group, producing a burgeoning group of second-class workers."

Contingent jobs are embedded in every sector of the economy, affecting workers of all collars. Their diverse ranks include high-tech software engineers and office workers; janitors, taxicab drivers and chicken catchers misclassified as independent contractors; adjunct college professors; and home healthcare workers. As Ellen Bravo, co-director of 9 to 5, the National Association for Working Women, puts it, "This is a labor problem that crosses class."

What potentially unites such disparate workers is the tenuous status they all share--and the fact that they take home nearly $100 less per week than their nominally permanent counterparts. Government and industry studies show 60-70 percent of contingents wish for something more stable. Just 20 percent of contingent workers (and under 4 percent of all temps) receive employer health insurance, compared with more than 50 percent of noncontingent workers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Similarly, only one-fourth of contingent workers are eligible for employer pension plans, while nearly half of permanent workers qualify. Perhaps most significant, the vast majority of contingents fall through vast loopholes in worker-protection laws and have no union representation. They have been cast adrift to fend for themselves in an increasingly volatile labor market

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