Take Action to Defend Temp Workers and unionized employers
in high turnover industries: oppose A-908/S-2267.
In January Senator Nick Spano (R-Yonkers) and Assemblyman
Richard Brodsky (D-Westchester) introduced legislation on
low-wage temporary staffing firms that would dramatically
curtail temp workers’ rights and would create a competitive
cost advantage for low-road temp agencies over unionized
industries like home health, construction, building security
and food service by lowering payroll taxes for the temp employers.
This law promotes outsourcing and privatization and has a
negative fiscal impact on the state’s unemployment insurance
The bill would automatically deny temporary workers unemployment
benefits if they fail to contact the temporary agency within
five days of completing an assignment.
In contrast to current law and the rules as they apply to
all other workers, A-908/S-2267 would deny unemployment benefits
temporary workers regardless of whether a new work assignment
is actually available and regardless of whether the individual
was actively pursuing other job prospects.
For the past several years, the temporary help industry (American
Staffing Association/NY Association of Temporary & Staffing
Services) has been aggressively lobbying all the states to
enact the same bill that is now before the New York Legislature.
- Temp firms are looking to increase profits by bringing down
their unemployment tax rates. Unemployment tax rates are
determined, in part, by the number of unemployment claims
filed against individual temp agencies. With the vast growth
in the number of temporary help firms during the past decade,
price competition has increased significantly and profit
margins have dropped. Thus, the temp industry has turned
to the unemployment
system to help make up the difference.
- Second, this seemingly technical rule is creating a loophole
that allows the temp industry to get around federal unemployment
laws. These federal protections are specifically designed
to maintain labor standards by allowing workers to refuse
offer of work, including temp work, when permanent work
is available in the community which is related to the
skills and work history. While the effect of AB 908’s
five-day rule is the same, it does not technically violate
the federal law because it stops short of requiring the
firm to make an offer of temporary work which the worker
be entitled to turn down.
This law encourages outsourcing and
punishes unionized employers in mid-high turnover industries.
Cuomo vetoed this
law a decade ago. Now temp firms think they can sneak
it by again.
“These laws essentially lock unemployed workers into
temporary jobs by preventing them from seeking alternative
employment. These provisions are pushed
by the temporary help industry as a means to guarantee a continuous stream of
workers and to avoid their own UI obligations. The labor movement must resist
this effort to degrade the employment opportunities of the unemployed."
Unemployment Insurance and Working Families:
An AFL-CIO Agenda for State Action
Adopted by the AFL-CIO State Legislative Conference, July 18, 1998.
Tell Senator Spano and Assemblyman Brodsky that you and your
organization oppose A-908/S-2267 and support laws that discourage
To become involved in the campaign contact New York Unemployment
Project at (212) 625-0288 or firstname.lastname@example.org.