Abuse of Temp Workers Is Bad for the Economy and Bad for Our Health



If you’re not going to eat anytime soon, read this horrifying little anecdote from Capital & Main:

“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.

As American companies build firewalls between the corporation and the worker, effectively outsourcing the nasty business of paying people well and seeing to their other human needs, it’s not just workers who suffer, but perhaps consumers as well.

As the above experience details, workers who may not be properly equipped for the job are being asked to take charge of little things like the safety of our food supply. The agribusiness in question happens to provide for many a chain, including grocery stores, restaurants and fast food dives.

Temp workers fit the new labor model. Employers don’t want responsibility for health care, nor are they interested in long-term relationships.

But there’s a counterargument. Some research shows that full-time, well-treated employees more than make up for their higher benefits with increased productivity and lower turnover, which saves on training costs.

— Posted by Peter Z. Scheer

Peter Z. Scheer
Managing Editor
Peter Scheer grew up in the newspaper business, spending family vacations with his mother at newspaper editors' conferences, enjoying daycare in editorial departments and begrudgingly reviewing his father's…
Peter Z. Scheer

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