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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 behalf of 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 firms in 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 fund.

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.

Why:

  • 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 successfully 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 an unreasonable offer of work, including temp work, when permanent work is available in the community which is related to the individual’s 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 would then be entitled to turn down.

This law encourages outsourcing and punishes unionized employers in mid-high turnover industries. Governor 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 outsourcing and protect temp worker rights.

To become involved in the campaign contact New York Unemployment Project at (212) 625-0288 or info@nyup.org.

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