Companies mistreat workers through temp agencies, independent contracting

Women face unique struggles in the workplace. In order to limit these problems, they are pushing Senate Democrats to pass the PRO Act.

For women, documenting workplace problems can be difficult, as many go unreported because they are afraid to speak out. Mindy Isser, contributor to The Nation, told the stories some women are facing on the AWF Union Podcast.

Companies taking advantage through temp agencies

Isser told the story of a woman who worked at job for four years, but was unaware of certain circumstances. She applied for a job at Comcast and interviewed at the company. Things seemed normal until she was sent to a temp agency to complete hiring paperwork.

While at the temp agency’s office, she filled out the paperwork, assuming it was a temp to hire position as opposed to the typical three-month probationary period.

However, she soon discovered it was not the case. In this case, the woman was an employee of the temp agency, meaning she was not afforded benefits and had nowhere to go regarding labor disputes.

Worker misclassification

Isser then moved on to worker misclassification. She explained how two undocumented workers were sexually abused by their boss, who also stole their paychecks. Both workers were an easy target for such abuse because they were not employed by the company for which they were working.

She then discussed other issues independent contractors face and how they can be fixed through the passage of the PRO Act. According to Isser, the PRO Act will make working situations better for women who get sucked into independent contracting.

However, well-off independent contractors have been pushing back against the PRO Act, despite it doing little to affect their situation. Isser said the average independent contractor makes approximately $30,000 per year, meaning this small group pushing back on the legislation are in a deep minority.

COVID-19’s affect on organizing

According to Isser, the COVID-19 pandemic has encouraged people to organize, especially those who are considered frontline workers.

Currently, unions are largely popular in the U.S., as they have a favorable rating of over 60 percent. The issue being faced by organizers is high turnover. Workplaces such as grocery stores, fulfillment centers and other similar places can sometimes see 100 percent turnover within a year.


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