More Americans are working today than have in years. That’s a good thing. But many companies are still trying to do an end-around when it comes to employment by using contract or temporary workers instead of hiring full-time employees.
Workers at two Jim Beam distilleries in Kentucky are currently on strike, in part, due to the company’s use of these temp workers. They note that due to a boom in demand for bourbon worldwide, employees are logging upwards of 80 hours a week on the job. But the company won’t hire more full-time workers.
Meanwhile, computer and printing company HP just last week suggested that it will shift some of its full-time employees to jobs at contract agencies, where they will receive lower pay, fewer benefits and will lose their seniority. They also could be let go at any time without cause.
Concerns about the increased outsourcing of jobs are growing for everyday Americans. A Pew Research Center report earlier than month said 63 percent of workers are less secure about their jobs in the future, and the increased use of contract workers is a big reason why. Hard-working people know they could be pushed aside for someone who gets paid less and be sent packing even easier.
Teamsters have seen action like this first hand. At salad producer Taylor Farms in Tracy, Calif., for instance, the company used both workers at the facility, but workers employed by temp agencies were paid less and had no job protections. But thanks to the union and its allies, the Golden State passed legislation in 2014 that cracked down on the practice.
At a time of economic progress, lawmakers must be vigilant in making sure workers are benefiting from higher profits as well. Fair pay is essential for both employees and businesses if America is going to live up to its full potential.