Friday, August 10, 2012

Today's disposable workers: Anxious and in danger

Job insecurity is, sadly, a feature of American life now. Alternet calls it the disease of the 20th century. Oh, and it's killing us.

"A massive, Xanax-fueled public health crisis driven by chronic employment worry is headed our way," writes Lynn Parramore.

Here's the worse news: Temp hiring is rising. The number of temporary employees in the U.S. increased to 2.5 million during the first three months of 2012, up from 2.1 million in early 2009.

NPR tells us why:
Companies use temps because they can pay fewer benefits, take on fewer legal responsibilities and fire them easily.

Isn't that charming? What's worse, temporary workers can die on the job. According to the IUF,
Lax regulations, loose enforcement and employer resistance to union health and safety committees inflict a ghastly toll of illness, injury and death on the job. The grisly death of a contract worker at a US NestlĂ© plant provides further evidence that agency workers face even greater risks due to their precarious employment status. 
Last month, a contract worker at the Taunton, Massachusets Tribe Mediterranean Foods factory was crushed to death when he was pulled into the machine he was cleaning and sterilizing. The worker had received no training in shutting off the machine and its power supply before performing any work. Other contract workers performing the cleaning had likewise received no training. 
Tribe Foods is a subsidiary of the Israeli-based Osem Group, majority-owned by Nestlé, with operations in Israel, Europe and the US. The worker, Collazo Torres, was employed by a temp agency, Monroe Staffing.
Welcome to the war on workers.