A Huffington Post story by Laura Bassett on alleged abuses by temporary firm Aerotek quotes heavily from a union-representing attorney and includes this rebuke by the temp in question: “Thanks Aerotek, hope that little bit of money you’re getting is worth taking the food off my kids’ plates!”
Bassett also got plenty of feedback from readers writhing with a sense of injustice:
Staffing agencies offer economists an excellent way to argue that employment is growing, when in fact it is employment “light”, as in with no benefits and an uncertain future. Frankly, their very existence has only ever been a way to work around labor laws. Federal legislation needs to be introduced to limit the duration of assignments, so that a “temp” isn’t working 30 years without benefits and retirement options provided for other employees. – Spottery2k
Having worked at several companies through temporary agencies, I am convinced that there are a lot of companies that simply prefer not to have employees. In some of the workplaces I have been in, the contract workers outnumber the employees to a huge extent. Some of the contract workers have been at the company for years. Contract workers give companies all the upside of employees (they are required to follow company manuals and policies, not to mention any command from a superior) and none of the downsides. They company provides no benefits and no promises of a future. Should the company decide it does not like the contract worker, they send an email or text message or leave a phone message and the contract worker magically disappears. No warnings, no exit interviews, none of the discomfort of having to look someone in the eye and tell them they are fired. If there isn’t enough work for the entire week, just send the worker home. And I’m betting that suits for age, race and sex discrimination (surprise--such things still take place in the workplace) are way down with contract workers. It’s a buyer’s market for labor in this country, with so many jobs shipped overseas, and I predict millions will never work a full time job again. Jim Wiggin
I dislike temp agencies. You do not know if you have a job from day to day. You have to call them constantly to see if they have openings. And they reinforce the idea that workers are disposable and interchangeable. Mik McAllister
I’ve read over a lot of the comments carefully and mostly what I hear is a lot of people living on the edge who are frustrated and want to heap blame on someone. Temp firms, given their very nature of acting in loco-HR, obviously are going to take a lot of the heat.
Some of the comment ironically have me asking myself why I don’t use temporary services more given all the advantages they have in assuring only successful candidates get full time positions.
Also, I thought Richard Wahlquist, CEO of the American Staffing Industry, did a decent job in defending the industry in saying, “Staffing firms only are able to get income from their clients if they make placements, so they have a powerful incentive to put everybody to work,” he said. “Of course, if you’ve got 10 million people coming through your doors every year, there’s are gonna be some with grievances, but Allegis [Aerotek's parent company] is actually the largest staffing firm in America. They provide employment across a lot of different sectors, they’ve got a really strong track record, and they’re proud of what they do.”
What are your thoughts?