The Work Is Temporary Not the Workers


By Phil La Duke

I spent the month of October at two diverse conferences, the National Security Council in Atlanta and EHS Today’s Leadership Conference and of the a number of themes to emerge a single could not have come via a lot more strongly: OSHA is taking a difficult stand on the safety of short-term workers.  Short-term, lasting for only a limited period of time not permanent transient not produced to final single use, disposable.

According to the U.S. Government Accountability 40.four% of the U.S. workforce is now produced up of contingent workers—temps, contractors, or other workers whose job status is shaky at very best. There’s a tendency amongst numerous to feel of “temps” as worth much less to society than the stalwarts who pay mortgages, own properties, and grind it out forty-plus hours (when exactly did we drop the 40-hour function week? When did putting in an honest week’s work become the mark of a disgraceful slacker who shows neither ambition or loyalty to the company?) to purchase some meager measure of security. 

I’ve by no means worked as a temp.  I’ve worked as a “contractor” which was just a euphemism for a guy who works of the books, beyond the protection of the authorities an outlaw in the purest sense—not protected by the law and no longer a portion of the tribe, peripheral to society. Get injured on the job? Screw you. Die due to the fact in addition to paying workers “under the table”  the people who employ these workers take dangerous shortcuts? Hard crap.  Operating in a job like that adjustments you it shapes your perception of who you are.  Treated like a commodity to be utilised up and thrown away makes you attempt added tough to show your self and these around you that you DO matter.  You over compensate and cop an attitude, but do that perform lengthy adequate and you commence to believe they’re proper, that you don’t matter, that you aren’t going anyplace or anyplace that you will commit the rest of your life drifting along the bottom of life.

So why did I do it? It was 1988 and I had been out of work for more than a year. Men and women don’t forget Ronald Regan as this excellent political hero, but I don’t forget a different 1980’s.  For me, in Detroit life, was bleak.  When I caught the break of a lifetime and got a job working the line at a doomed GM plant I wasn’t worried even though the plant I got a job had a clear and irrevocable death sentence (the antiquated facility was slated to close in less than 5 years as the work was getting moved to the modern day and far more effective Detroit Hamtramck “Poletown” plant) I wasn’t concerned.  I was in the GM system, I might be laid off for awhile but I would get picked up someplace in the program.  I hadn’t counted on Basic Motors closing 15 plants and laying off 50,000 other workers. A year later I moved out of my rental residence, and I was living in the upstairs of my brother’s ancient and decaying farmhouse. I had a baby and a wife. Loss doesn’t come all at after, life requires things away from you a little at a time I gave up my independence,, my marriage was evaporating beneath the strain, and finally my pride.  I signed up for focus hope and was in a position to get government cheese, dry beans, canned meat that I swear I in no way could discover to choke down. I didn’t qualify for any government assistance due to the fact I wasn&#8217t 6 months behind in my bills and they wouldn’t even give me meals stamps because I shared a kitchen with my brother and heaven forbid he may well eat meals allotted for me and my family members.  Far better for all of us to starve I guess, but I wasn’t bitter (and ma not bitter now) those were just the guidelines and 1 issue you find out rapid when you are living at the bottom is the guidelines and how to exploit them.  I joined a plan, a Christian co-op where members of some church would “sponsor” you and I could go to a particular retailer exactly where I could purchase expired (previous their pull dates) food at a discount on the condition that I attend meetings to “learn about Jesus” in spite of obtaining been raised in a Christian household and despite every thing was nevertheless a practicing Catholic.  It was miserable but it put food on the table.  Eventually, the grocery retailer shut the practice down (promoting that meals even to the poor and the desperate) was illegal and even although I by no means liked that scene I had to do what I had to do. Nobody, not my family members or even my closest pals, ever knew how undesirable it was I was in a position to hold up some semblance of appearances I would preserve that for as lengthy as I could.  When my quickly to be ex-wife’s family provided me operate off the books I jumped at it.  The work was tearing out shops in malls so that new stores could be constructed in their places.  There was no training, no PPE, no JSAs, and most of all no social safety cards (but I declared the funds I earned anyway—I wasn’t likely to earn all that considerably so taxes weren’t that considerably of a concern, even although unemployment pay is taxed). It was that atmosphere that turned me into a permament employ and my life and my security was worth no less then than it it is today

My daughter worked as a recruiter in a Temp Agency and has told me sufficient stories for me to comprehend that a lot of temp workers are temps for a purpose.  From the stripper who refused to give anything beyond her stage name to the parade of screw ups who showed up drunk or didn’t show up at all. But there are other stories as well, stories of individuals who are hunting to locate their a single accurate passion or their live’s function, stories of cost-free spirits who want to operate in an office 1 day and a warehouse the next, stories of empty nesters looking to return to the workforce, and stories of college grads getting work encounter till the jobs they had been promised materialize.

OSHA isn’t coming for the type of companies that I worked for, and they are not coming for the temporary agencies, they are coming for coming for the companies who hire temps and treat them as industrial cannon fodder if, that is, they come at all.

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