"I was hired as an interpreter by the court system two years ago in response to a newspaper ad. A couple of weeks into the job, I found out the position I thought I was applying for-full-time with benefits-wasn't the one I got. The position I got, and still am currently stuck in, is officially titled 'temporary part-time.'
"Strangely enough I still work more than 40 hours a week and have retirement taken from my check. However, I don't get benefits and am paid one-third less than the lowest full-time person. I'm required to perform the exact same job as every other full-time employee, and I do mean exact."
"If you'd asked me three years ago if I thought today I'd be working part time as a temp; obtaining reduced premium health insurance; receiving food stamps, energy or food-bank assistance; and would be living in low-income subsidized housing, I would've said, 'No way! Who me? White college graduate on the Dean's List, hard worker, son of middle class Jewish parents?'
"Yet, after faxing 234 resumes in the last three months, interviewing for seven jobs and receiving no offers, I reluctantly accepted a temporary part-time administrative assistant position at $9.80 an hour so I could pay my rent and pay off student loans. The client-employer pays $16.10 an hour for my skills.
"That's the problem. The money I make ($700 to $800) is barely enough to live on. Thus, I now qualify to pay $10 a month for health insurance. The remainder of my bill is paid by the state.
"None of these 'benefits' are paid for by either 'employer.' They're paid by the rest of us, the taxpayers, in the amount of $5,800+ a year. If I were paid more, say $12 to $13 an hour, I wouldn't be eligible for any secondary benefits. And the temp agency could still earn a profit.
"So, if you're an employer using one of the temp companies or reducing your workers' hours to save costs, you might want to ask yourself in a rare moral moment why taxpayers ought to pay for your 'money-saving' efforts.
"When temp companies and their clients won't pay a living wage or provide enough hours, the rest of us have to make up the economic difference."
—Middle class worker on welfare
"Our shortsighted corporate leaders still don't get it. U.S. citizens are the largest group of consumers in the world. When (employers) disregard the sense of security previously enjoyed by the American workforce-having decent paying jobs and morale -they undermine their own customer base. We aren't just workers; we're customers too. Our relatives, friends and neighbors are customers and potential customers!"
"The disparity between contract employees and permanent ones is ludicrous. Bear in mind, we all do the same exact job, and some contract employees have been working in my department longer than I have."
Workforce, November 1997, Vol. 76, No. 11, p. 46.