|In cities all across the country, workers stand on street corners, line up in alleys or wait in a neon-lit beauty salon for rickety vans to whisk them off to warehouses miles away. Some vans are so packed that to get to work, people must squat on milk crates, sit on the laps of passengers they do not know or sometimes lie on the floor, the other workers’ feet on top of them.
This is not Mexico. It is not Guatemala or Honduras. This is Chicago, New Jersey, Boston.
The people here are not day laborers looking for an odd job from a passing contractor. They are regular employees of temp agencies working in the supply chain of many of America’s largest companies – Walmart, Macy’s, Nike, Frito-Lay. They make our frozen pizzas, sort the recycling from our trash, cut our vegetables and clean our imported fish. They unload clothing and toys made overseas and pack them to fill our store shelves. They are as important to the global economy as shipping containers and Asian garment workers.
Many get by on minimum wage, renting rooms in rundown houses, eating dinners of beans and potatoes, and surviving on food banks and taxpayer-funded health care. They almost never get benefits and have little opportunity for advancement.
Across America, temporary work has become a mainstay of the economy, leading to the proliferation of what researchers have begun to call “temp towns.” They are often dense Latino neighborhoods teeming with temp agencies. Or they are cities where it has become nearly impossible even for whites and African-Americans with vocational training to find factory and warehouse work without first being directed to a temp firm.
In June, the Labor Department reported that the nation had more temp workers than ever before: 2.7 million. Overall, almost one-fifth of the total job growth since the recession ended in mid-2009 has been in the temp sector, federal data shows. But according to the American Staffing Association, the temp industry’s trade group, the pool is even larger: Every year, a tenth of all U.S. workers finds a job at a staffing agency.
The proportion of temp workers in the labor force reached its peak in early 2000 before the 2001 slump and then the Great Recession. But as the economy continues its slow, uneven recovery, temp work is roaring back 10 times faster than private-sector employment as a whole – a pace “exceeding even the dramatic run-up of the early 1990s,” according to the staffing association. [...]
Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2004—An Act on Paper:
|It was a glorious day for the administration of Dubyanocchio nearly 14 months ago when the president stood before the cameras on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln to announce to the world with his patented smirk: “Mission Accomplished.” It was one of those cleverly crafted propaganda moments that the shapers of the public mind hope can be transformed into indelible images as politically powerful as, say, JFK’s “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech four decades ago.
Bush's premature triumphalism was certainly a far cry from the paper-shuffling “transfer of power” in Baghdad. Today's ceremony might as well have taken place in Saddam Hussein’s spider hole.
As Kosopolitan thirdparty points out, Viceroy L. Paul Bremer took his leave from Iraq today with a little less fanfare than the PR doyens might have liked.
It's a special "encore performance" of the Kagro in the Morning show for the one year anniversary of the Supreme Court's decision in the Affordable Care Act case! Our four hour marathon live coverage of the announcement features of lots of Daily Kos friends chiming in, including Greg Dworkin, Armando, Joan McCarter, brooklynbadboy, winkk, Militarytracy, MKS and more! This episode has never before been available in the Libsyn format, so I think it'll be new to most of you. In any event, it's a pretty fun show, so join in a year later as we have a little party online!