Lawmaker, Advocates Denounce Illinois Temp Worker Mistreatment

CHICAGO (CBS) — A state lawmaker and other advocates are speaking out for temporary workers in Illinois who think companies take advantage of them.

WBBM’s Craig Dellimore reports.

A study by a labor rights organization said temporary workers often have no benefits, low pay and are sometimes abused. Champaign Urbana State Representative Carol Ammons said many times the work is not temporary at all. She claimed a loophole in state law allows companies to use temporary workers to shield their businesses from labor regulations.

“As a result today, almost every major factory and warehouse uses temporary workers to staff their operations,” she said.

Brittany Scott, a researcher with the National Economic and Social Rights Initiative, said their study shows temporary workers earn much less than those they fill in for. She also claimed one third of all temp jobs are permatemps, and the most common temp assignment lasts for three years.

“While all temps want permanent direct hire jobs, only 20 percent have ever had a temp job lead to being directly hired,” she said.

Rep. Ammons said disproportionate numbers of minority workers are affected, and that more than 840,000 people are considered temporary workers.

“This cycle traps them and keeps them in temporary status,” she said.

Charles Lovett is a warehouse worker who claimed he has been a temp for six years through different agencies. He said workers could lose jobs if they voice certain concerns.

“If we speak up about safety conditions, then they ‘DNR’ us, which means we’re fired, do not return,” he said.

Rep. Ammons is sponsoring legislation that would offer more protections and better pay for temporary workers. A legislative hearing is scheduled for next week.

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