The Negative Effects of a Rise in Temp Workers in The U.S.

Business Time

The National Employment Law project found that between 2008 and 2012, the number of American “temp” workers grew an astounding 41%.  This trend of  temporary workers and temporary staffing has grown so much that it is no longer focused on supplying secretaries and office personnel—it now supplies a large number of employees to the fast food industry, janitorial services and other jobs that were traditionally permanent positions.

 It’s easy to see why temporary workers have been so necessary to our country’s economy.  Many businesses hire on an “as needed” basis when larger projects come in or when certain holidays roll around (particularly in the retail industry).  In these cases, temporary workers are a necessity.

 However, the trend happening now goes beyond this—businesses that once hired full-time, salaried workers for positions are now hiring two part-time employees on a per-hour basis and without benefits rather than a one salaried employee who receives benefits.  This is a result of Obamacare, which mandates that above a certain number of employees businesses are required to offer health insurance and the current Administration’s ideological penchant for applying new regulations and taxes on small businesses.  This trend is creating a large workforce made up of temporary workers who are not eligible able to join a union but at least find employment in an economic environment created by an Administration which for ideological reasons is adverse to full employment.

 Rebecca Smith, the Deputy Director of the National Employment Law Project, states, “You see in some industries a real transformation.  Hotels is one of them.  But port drivers is another.  After deregulation in the 1980s, that job of driving from a port to a rail-head or rail-head to rail-head that used to be organized by teamsters and characterized by employee drivers who earned family wages became contracted out to independent contractors.  And wages plummeted in that industry.  Those jobs are benefit-less and wages are very low.”

 This comment by Rebecca Smith is common among Left wing proponents.  But it fails to recognize that the International Brotherhood of Teamsters was directly responsible for the incomparable high wages and onerous work rules that resulted in high food, clothing and housing costs.

 Unlike the Socialist European system where employees cannot be laid off and the employment of  temporary workers is prohibited prices for the basic necessities of life are extraordinarily high and employment remains at a constant 10 to 12 percent.  This is why the American labor system is more dynamic and growth oriented.